Tearful Elsons farewell their Golden Girl

\"\"Caption: Cyndie and Bill Elson with Regal Silver

By Mike Hill

SHE was treated like a queen and to the Elsons, Cyndie and Bill, that\’s exactly what she was.

However, to the greyhound racing world, she was the Golden Girl of the breeding barn.

We\’re talking about Regal Silver, the super brood bitch that changed the Elsons\’ lives forever.

Tragically \’Silvie\’, as she was known to the Elsons, had to be put down in late November and the family is heartbroken.

\”I am gut wrenched and can hardly stop myself from shedding tears when I talk about her or even think of her,\” an emotional Cyndie said.

\”As you know for the past five years she has been such a wonderful companion. As I never leave the place, she was always with me when Bill was at the races.\”

Cyndie made one of her rare trips to the race track last month to watch her smart youngsters Magical Bill (second) and Magical Hope contest the G2 Ipswich Cup.

She even said on that night: \”I nearly didn\’t come tonight as Silvie was anxious and unsettled when I was leaving.\”

Only a few weeks earlier Cyndie Elson had spoken to Chase describing her admiration and love for the wonderful blue bitch.

\”It\’s mind boggling what she\’s achieved for us,\” she said. \”Her achievements as a brood bitch have completely changed our lives.

\”I just love her.\”

Cyndie said \’Silvie\’ had free rein of the house.

And that\’s not surprising as her offspring have more than paid for it several times over.

\”She is currently lying on the lounge next to us watching television,\” said Cyndie in the interview. \”She\’s a beautiful girl.”

Cyndie said the family, based at Churchable west of Brisbane,  never dreamt  of having so much success when son Travis and his wife Hope brought Regal Silver home from the Dapto puppy auction in 2008.

\’\’We had picked out these dogs we wanted them to buy,\’\’ she said.

\”When \’the kids\’  arrived at the Dapto auction there were a few problems and they had to change their plans.

\’\’Trav rang me and said \’mum we are going to buy this bitch\’.

\’\’He said \’she\’s a sister to the dog you picked out\’ (that dog later raced as Major Billy Blue). She\’s really good looking and you can have her for $5000.

\’\’I said \’well grab her\’. So that\’s how I came to get Regal Silver.

\”And we\’ve been blessed.\”

Back in 2015 when Regal Silver\’s first two litters were dominating the tracks, Cyndie said it was like winning the lottery.

Well, the success has continued and for Team Elson – Bill, Cyndie and son Warren – it\’s a full-time operation on their 40-acre  property with training, breeding and rearing and everything that goes with that.

\”At present we have about 84 dogs, including all the pups,\” said Cyndie.

\”It\’s hard work but I love it.\”

And she doesn\’t mind staying at home while Bill takes the team away racing.

Like a mad footy fan, Cyndie admits to cheering the place down every time one of the dogs wins.

\”We have TV sets all over the place, so whether I\’m in the house or in a shed, I can still watch the races,\” she said.

The Elsons\’ youngest son Travis has his own successful greyhound operation at Yandina Creek, while eldest son Leonard lives on the Sunshine Coast.

As the mighty bitch\’s last few progeny begin winding  down their careers on the track, some of her outstanding daughters, including Cyndie\’s Magic, Hope\’s Magic, Abby\’s Fantasy, Hope\’s Fantasy and Cyndie\’s Special, have already started to create their own dynasties as brood bitches.

The regally bred Regal Silver had six litters between late 2011 and early 2016,  producing 43 pups.

As of last month, their collective prizemoney tally totalled an astonishing $1,966,778 with just one Group – a level three – victory, while progeny of six of Silvie\’s daughters have already amassed more than $1.2m.

But what is the most remarkable aspect of Regal Silver\’s career as a brood bitch is that of her 42 offspring to hit the tracks – only one failed to win a race.

The dog, Hay Lionel,  from Regal Silver\’s last litter to Barcia Bale, raced only  three times for two seconds, so he had ability, but a bone disease forced his early retirement.

And the one dog not to race from the six litters – Regal Moocher (from the Premier Fantasy repeat litter) – was, in Cyndie\’s words, \’a special little pup\’.

With only two offspring still racing – the iron dog Cosmo Bill (203 starts: 69 wins, 35 seconds, 22 thirds; $139,108) and Hay Nanny (72: 10-19-8; $27,045) – Silvie\’s progeny have accumulated an amazing total of 567 victories.

Regal Silver entered motherhood with bright prospects, after ticking all the boxes as a potential brood bitch, but no-one was anticipating her phenomenal run of success.

Although not a star on the track with nine wins up to 460m from 61 starts, she was by Surf Lorian from the highly credentialed Placard bitch Wongawillisue – a recognised proven cross.

Wongawillisue, a multi winner at The Meadows (Melbourne) and successful at Wentworth Park,  was runner-up to Suave Fella  in the 2006 G1 Paws Of Thunder (520m) at the Sydney track and she also produced G1 winner Belfast Johnny from a Cosmic Rumble litter, while her dam – Wongawillimilly – threw G2 winner Genista Gemini and Group placegetter Wongawillicath as well as Wongawillisue.

So with such a pedigree, Regal Silver was always going to the breeding barn once she finished racing.

But who to mate her with?

The Elsons finally decided on 2004 Irish Greyhound of the Year and international stud success Premier Fantasy for Silvie\’s first mating.

The result – a fabulous litter of seven, all multi winners, headed by Bill\’s Fantasy (85:26-14-9, $127,559) and Cyndie\’s Special (95:19-24-13, $96,175).

Next came another outstanding litter of seven by Magic Sprite – again all winners – with the darling of Albion Park Cyndie\’s Magic (152:45-41-26, $424,884) as the superstar and the Elsons\’ only Group winner so far.

Successful litters to Fabregas, Cosmic Chief, Premier Fantasy (repeat) and Barcia Bale followed.

Continually heaping praise on Regal Silver, Cyndie said she had been a great mother.

\”She just doted on her pups from day one,\” she said. \”There was never a problem with feeding and her daughters are also fantastic mothers.

\”We\’ve been very lucky.\”

And Cyndie hasn\’t given up hope of producing another Group winner after Cyndie\’s Magic was successful in the 2017 G3 Queensland Cup (600m) at Albion Park.

\”But asking for another Group win maybe too much,\” she said.

\”God has been so good to me already.

\”I don\’t want to push it, but I\’d love to think I\’ve got another Group dog out there (in the paddock).\”

Cyndie, who met Bill in 1976 and had her first winner as a trainer with My Sweet Rosie at Casino in 1979, said early on she could only dream of winning a Thursday night race at Albion Park.

But in recent years – thanks to Silvie – the Elsons have dominated the major awards at the Brisbane club – dam of the year (Regal Silver, 2015-18), owner of the year (Cyndie, 2015-19) and trainer of the year (Bill and Cyndie (2015-19).

Cyndie is hoping Silvie\’s daughter Cyndie\’s Magic can hang on and win this year\’s dam title.

Last month Cyndie\’s Magic (586) had a 94-point advantage over the Mary Burman-owned Bizarre Barbie (492), with another Elson bitch Hope\’s Magic (430) third, while Cyndie has a stranglehold on this year\’s owners (1768) and trainers (1563) premierships and her sprinters Magical Cyndie (133), It Ain\’t Billy (131) and Magical Bill (131) are just behind the leading pair – Big Boy Bruce (168) and Stinger Noir (142) – in the greyhound points award.

She may be gone, but Regal Silver will never be forgotten and she\’ll always be in the hearts of Cyndie and Bill Elson.

FOOTNOTE: Has there been a more successful brood bitch in Queensland? If you think so, let us know.

Regal Silver: Progeny Record (Australasia) – Overall

Year Runners Starts Wins 2nds 3rds P/Money W % P %
2013       7 158 42 37 21 $87,555 26.6% 63.3%
2014      12 268 61 50 39 $232,650 22.8% 56%
2015      23 574 121 88 82 $485,902 21.1% 50.7%
2016      25 758 128 134 110 $520,586 16.9% 49.1%
2017      31 681 94 95 96 $327,261 13.8% 41.9%
2018      18 398 75 72 66 $194,840 18.8% 53.5%
2019      10 243 32 34 46 $82,565 13.2% 46.1%
2020        6 81 14 18 13 $35,420 17.3% 55.6%
Totals 3161 567 528 473 $1,966,778 17.9% 49.6%



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