By Isaac Murphy
Travis Elson is enjoying the most successful year of his training life with the addition of greyhounds like Limited Edition.
The 23- month-old will this Thursday night tackle Queensland’s best bitches in the Winged Runner Trophy Final, and Elson firmly believes she’s not just there to make up the numbers.
Limited Edition has found the line first on seven occasions from her sixteen starts over the short course and traditional sprint distance , and that’s where she is going to stay after two impressive wins in her last three starts.
“She’s going really well, I thought she could maybe win again and make it three in a row last week but luck wasn’t on our side,” Elson said.
She copped a few bumps and being a bitch didn’t like it too much, but she’s bounced out of it fine.
“She’s a very handy race bitch in that she has the ability to lead and win but doesn’t have to, she can come from off the pace and she’s getting stronger every race.
“Our next target is to break thirty seconds and I think she’s really close to doing that, with 30.12 and 30.14 wins to her name if she can just shave a couple of tenths off that puts her right up there with the best bitches we have in Queensland at the moment.”
It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Elson decided his charge was up to open company, and while he knows it’ll be a test, Limited Edition is on an upward trajectory.
“When I rang up and nominated her this morning they said you can go in a fourth grade or have a start in the Winged Runner and I thought we’ve got some good bitches up here but there’s nothing absolutely jumping out of the ground, so why not give her the chance,” he said.
“Frieda Las Vegas is a cracking race bitch, you only have to look at her unbeaten record at the track to see that, but the way she does it as well from back in the field it reminds me of Silver Stunner, she’s going to be tough to beat.
“I think she’s the class bitch in the race, and along with us probably the only two that are still on the rise.
“You look at some of the other runners and their best times are far quicker than ours but they haven’t run them for a while.”
The start is critical for the soon to be two-year-old, if she can clear the two runners on her inside Elson gives her a real chance.
“To be honest I think if my girl leaves well, she can almost cross to the rail from the three,” Elson said.
“She has Naturally Gifted in the one for pace, if she can just get across Dynamite Lucy that would be huge.
“Blue Diva or Regal Topaz may be able to cross and lead her around that first turn, but I’d be more than happy if she could hold the rail in behind them.”
It’s a big couple of weeks for both trainer and greyhound, Elson hoping back-to-back features can take his chaser to the next level.
“She’s 23-months-old with a best of 30.12, which is good going but I think this race and the Young Guns heats next week could really be the making of her, she’s really ready to show what she’s capable of,” Elson said.
“Markets may say different for Thursday night, but I don’t see her as an underdog in the race, rather a live chance.
“Races like the Winged Runner and Young Guns are crucial for us; without them we’re almost having to put her up in the Best 8 when she’s not yet two-years-old.”
An Elson kennel favourite and Queensland Sprint champion Silver Stunner recently celebrated her fourth birthday, and Elson is hoping for a happy swansong for the exciting backmarker.
“I just trialled Silver Stunner on Tuesday up the straight, I was sitting on the fence whether to rush her back for the Winged Trophy but being her last preparation, I took the cautious approach and gave her a little more time,” he said.
“She’s had a few little hiccups along the way with a nagging toe injury, but she looked great on Tuesday and pulled up well so hopefully she can go out with a bang over the next few months.
“I’m going to have to be a bit creative with her seeing she’s up in Best 8 company, you don’t want her going around against an Oh Mickey every week, so 600 metres and travelling - they’re all in play, we’ll just get her back first.”
Elson has been on fire in 2020, and fresh off another three-win Sunday, he singled out three of his runners that were making big leaps.
“I’ve got a couple which have just continued to win, Hope’s Heist is a gem over the 331 metres he’s gone from a 19.10 dog down to an 18.8 dog which is a huge leap over the shorts,” he said
“Hope’s King broke thirty in the fifth-grade final on Monday night, improving from 30.35 to 29.95 so if he can keep that up, he can be anything.
“I’ve got All Aces who’s run 22.56 over the 395 and looks set for the 520 as well.”
Elson said he’s never been in a better place training wise and couldn’t wait to see where his young stars would get to.
“I’ve been really lucky with the influx of young talent all at once, add Silver Stunner and Nan’s Magic to that list and I’ve got a real quality kennel of ten,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had that many in work and I don’t think I’ve ever had as many with ability than I do at the moment.”