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Ipswich Futurity Winner turns focus to Albion Park Young Guns

By Isaac Murphy

Velocity Bettina won her maiden at just nineteen months and has blossomed into an Ipswich Futurity winner after just eight starts. However, it’s been far from smooth sailing for trainer Kev Ellis who brings her to Albion Park and the Young Guns for her next challenge.

“She always had the ability in everything we did with her as a pup. She won early on at Ipswich but suffered a couple of nasty tumbles at Albion Park. The second of which resulted in a seventy-day layoff. Going back to that track in a race like this is untested ground for her,” Ellis said.

“Since I’ve brought her back, her race sense seems a lot better, but you’re not sure if that’s because she’s drawn inside. The six on Thursday throws us a completely different challenge.”

Ellis noted the clear difference between racing at Ipswich compared to Albion Park, but with the volume of races at headquarters knew she had to overcome her past failures at the track.

“Thursday night will tell me a lot about how far she’s come. She’s always enjoyed Ipswich because you’re not forced onto the fence at the winning post. At Albion there’s much more chance of them coming together,” Ellis said.

“You can’t hide from tracks or box draws. The big races are at Albion so that’s something she’s going to have to overcome, hopefully starting on Thursday.”

“Experience is everything. She’s not going to be able to lead every race and win by ten lengths. You need the versatility to weave through a field and take a gap. That’s what she’s learning right now.”

To understand how high Velocity Bettina’s ceiling is you only have to look at her Futurity winning time of 30.09, just twelve hundredths off Champagne Sally’s 29.97 track record and the bitch doesn’t turn two until next month.

“I was over the moon just to win. A lot of people are carrying on about the time, but you race to see them win and she gave us a real thrill Saturday,” Ellis said.

“She’s still very raw at this stage of her development and boxes mean everything. When she came up with the one, I knew she’d run a race. She grows another leg off the pole.”

At just twenty-three months the bitch will be eligible for age races for some time and Ellis is hoping her experience in the Young Guns can put her in good stead for the Summer Carnival and beyond.

“Age races coming up specifically the Futurity in December are races you can’t miss. They’re only young once and with her capacity to run time you give her a hope in a race like that,” Ellis said.

“It’s the old adage though, one race at a time. Hopefully she can stay sound in that time window and get some runs under her belt and subsequent confidence at the track.”

Ellis trained dogs full time for over twenty years before taking a break from the industry and credited esteemed breeder and owner Steve Williams for getting him back to doing what he loves.

“I did it full time from my early twenties into my forties, but it’s probably Steve (Williams) I have to thank for bringing me back to the industry which now I consider a fantastic hobby with success a bonus,” Ellis said.

“I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Steve who manages Velocity Lodge and was lucky enough that this bitch came to me. Zambora Brockie is looking like the next boom sire at the moment and coupled with his bitch Velocity Shirl, they’ve produced a good one.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better owner. He leaves you to your own devices, trusts you’ll do what is best by the bitch. I’m glad we’ve started rewarding him.”

Ellis said he’s more than happy with his four kennels at his Burpengary property giving him plenty of time to pour his training experience into his young star.

“I’m keeping the lid on things at the moment but what she’s shown me certainly gets you excited as a trainer,” he said.

“She’s sprinting right now and doing it well, but ultimately I could see her as a top-class middle distance or maybe even staying bitch. When they’re not even two you just have to temper those expectations.”