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Elson greyhounds excels on and off the track

 

By Jordan GerransRace-6-Silver-Stunner-146.JPG

For Yandina Creek greyhound trainer Travis Elson, it is all about strike rates.

In the year of 2020, his kennel had one of the best strike rates in the state, ranking him as the fifth highest prize money earner in Queensland.

To land in the top five last year shows just how high Elson has climbed within the training ranks in the Sunshine State after winning a young achiever award for the code just under a decade ago.

But the strike rate that is closest to his heart and much more significant in the broader context is how many of his dogs find a “forever home” following their racing career.

Elson is running at almost 100 per cent in that regard with around 50 greyhounds that he previously raced eventually moving on to the Greyhound Adoption Program.

GAP is run by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and is fully funded by the Queensland State Government.

The program is dedicated to finding homes for greyhounds that have retired from racing.

Elson has immense pride in those efforts, making sure his beloved dogs are cared for once their final race has been run and won.

He won the QRIC welfare award in 2019 for his efforts in rehoming greyhounds and training with a clean record.

“Every dog we have taken there has passed and made homes,” Elson said.

“That is a good thing for us knowing our dogs are well cared for and get that extra bit of love on someone’s couch at their retirement.”

74055b91-041d-4421-869b-ae3d74f520e8.jpgWhile winning feature races or honours like representing Queensland at the National Sprint Final a few years is the aim for a greyhound trainer, Elson says the QRIC welfare award was a special feather in his cap.

“The adoption program does a great job out there,” he said.

“They take them, get them desexed and find new homes for them.

“It is brilliant for the sport; it is what it needs and then the greyhounds become pets and they can see how beautiful they are as animals.”

Elson is a self-confessed dog lover.

He got into the game through his parents, Bill and Cyndie, as they got their first dog before Travis had his 18th birthday.

 “It is one of those things, you get a greyhound and you get the bug for it,” he said.

“They are a beautiful animal.

“We get out of bed at 5am in the morning, but once you get out here with them, you do not mind.”

A couple of decades on, the parents are proud as punch for what their son has gone on to achieve in the Queensland racing industry.

Silver Stunner

Race-6-Silver-Stunner-DS4-8150-1.JPGOne of the key components of Elson’s run of luck over the last 12 months or so is his Yandina Creek property.

As far as greyhound homes go, it could not get much better for the animals with plenty of open space to roam around and fresh air just around the corner from Coolum Beach.

Elson cannot remember the last time he actually purchased a greyhound because of his impressive Yandina Creek kennel.

From berth to race day, the Elson family and team do it all their home.

Travis has his wife Hope chip in and help with the dogs, as does their children, and staff.

They have the process down pat, breeding their own dogs, whelping them, eventually breaking them in and then getting them chasing.

They have their own bull ring and straight track on the property before eventually taking them to Albion Park, the track Elson calls his home track, as they near their first ever race start.

“We do most of it from home in about 18 months,” he said.

“That is the most satisfying bit, break them in, everything else, and then race them.

“And, then to get the winners, it is a good buzz.

“It makes it even more special; we have put the hard yards in to watch them grow from being babies.

“What they can turn into, it’s quite amazing.”

With 122 winners under his belt last year, Elson thinks he has found the magic touch in the breeding game.

Sire Magic Sprite is a line that has just clicked with his kennel.

“He has been phenomenal for us and to our bitches,” he said.

“We have had a lot of winners from the Magic Sprite line.

“We did our homework with our breeding and found out Magic Sprite does well with our bitch line.

“He puts a lot of chase in our line, it is a big help, we have had a lot of success with good box speed and chasers.”

He is hopeful of cracking the ton of winners again in 2021 and potentially go bigger and better than 122 last year.

“Last year was a good year, the best year I have ever had,” he said.

“We have had a really good lot of dogs come through at the right time.”

One of Elson’s biggest career achievements was back in 2019 when his greyhound Silver Stunner represented Queensland in the Group 1 Nationals Finals in Perth.

Silver Stunner would run fourth on the big stage.

Outside of the dogs, the Elson’s run Coolum Turf – a turf farm on the Sunshine Coast, which doubles as perfect green grass for their young, race and retired dogs.

Before becoming a leading greyhound trainer in Queensland, Travis was a competitive kick boxer for around 15 years and fought internationally.