Caption: Horchata wins at Albion Park in his first outing for south-east Queensland trainer Shane Ellis (Photo: Box 1 Photography)  

Capalaba Club News with Pat McLeod

Burpengary (SE Qld) trainer Shane Ellis would love nothing more than to make a successful hit-and-run mission into enemy territory in Sydney with his young missile, Horchata.

Ellis is a devout Maroons rugby league supporter and is targeting his Keybow-Velocity Marlina black dog for a tilt at the National Straight Track Championships at Richmond on the morning of August 27.

In an exciting first, the straight track title race will be part of The Nationals, with the sprint and distance championships to be held that night at Wentworth Park.

As Chase was going to print Horchata was contesting the heats and (hopefully) the final of the Straight of Origin at Capalaba.

A bold showing there would be the perfect lead-in to the Nationals campaign.

“Come State of Origin time I can’t even wear a blue work shirt,” Ellis explains with a laugh about his Queensland rugby league passion. “On Origin day there’s nothing blue! Nobody in the house can wear blue … any shade of blue.”

To represent his state at Richmond in the Group 3 event would be an even bigger thrill than the Straight of Origin.

“Definitely,  it would be good to be part of the nationals with a dog that I believe has got a decent chance,” said Ellis. “But, of course you have to get through to the final.

“He has ability and is a nice little race dog. The first time he raced at Capalaba he went 19.85 on a wet track. I have had the dog just for five starts and he has won four times.

“He was racing in Sydney with Glen Goodwin.

“The dog just keeps improving and improving and the good thing is he’s already raced down there at Richmond. He has already seen the track.

“If he can get through to the (straight track national) final, well, he has been there before, so that will be an advantage to us.”

Horchata will face plenty of competition for a spot in national final, other than his own kennelmate, Impact. As an indicator, the Queensland Straight of Origin heats showcased plenty of quality familiar faces including: Bogie Fury (Ryan Ayre), Milligan and Just A Sort (Tony Brett), Columbian King (Jamie Hosking), Magical Trav (Terry Priest) and Black Comanche (Greg Stella).

Michael Miller still in trainers’ hearts

It may not carry the black type glory of a group race, but there will be plenty of trainers just keen to be part of the Michael Miller Memorial series at Capalaba – heats August 21 and final August 28.

As explained on the club’s website:

“Every year we conduct the heats of what has become one of the most sort after races on the Capalaba program. Primarily because of the person we remember each year, Michael John Miller. He was an exceptional young man who was going places when he was tragically killed in a car accident.

“It is now more than 20 years since that tragic event, but for those that knew Michael, it remains fresh in our memory. The race was originally run at Toowoomba, but with its closure, Capalaba (when managed by Bernie Culey) approached the family and the rest is history.

“Many of the trainers who knew Michael will always nominate, not with the expectation of winning the race, but just to be part of the event as a sign of respect for a truly unique young man.”