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‘I’m excited’ says Elson of golden start to Winter Carnival riches

15 May 2024

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The Travis Elson-trained Super Scrub.

By Pat McLeod

The 2024 Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival may not start until this Thursday night, but in-form trainer Travis Elson is already into his delivery stride.

The Sunshine Coast-based conditioner has seven runners across the QGOLD portion of the Albion Park program, where he is aiming for the perfect launching pad to his carnival aspirations.

Elson’s assault is led by tenacious bitch Bear’s Bullet, who is nearing her peak after three starts back from being on season for three seconds, one of those being in the Rockhampton Cup Final.

She will contest the QGOLD Winter Sprint Final over 520 metres on Thursday night with kennel mate Double Up Bill also in that decider.

Elson also has five litter mates in the three preceding races, all heats of the QGOLD Emerging Sprinters over 520 metres.

One of those Fernando Bale and Nan's Magic progeny is Super Scrub, who last week annexed the Brisbane Young Guns Final.

“Yes, I am excited,” Elson said about his emotions leading into the highlight of the Queensland greyhound racing calendar.

“I was excited leading into the Young Guns.

Races

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8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:18 PM

QGOLD Winter Sprint F

“It certainly is a good time to have dogs in the kennel that are firing and I have got a couple there that are going pretty well. So yes, I am really excited.”

The QGOLD features, for Queensland-bred dogs, have become a popular opener to Brisbane’s major summer and winter carnivals.

There will just be the one Final this Thursday night - the QGOLD Winter Sprint Final over 520 metres – with seven more Finals the following Thursday at Albion Park.

Heats will be held across this Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Elson said Bear’s Bullet was nearing her peak for her second crack at the $1 million carnival highlight, the Brisbane Cup.

She finished fourth in last year’s Cup, which was won by WA’s Elite Machine.

“Bear’s Bullet is going super and will be very hard to beat on Thursday night,” Elson said.

“As long as she clears them (from box seven), she should be fine. She is just about back to her best after her season.

“She ran 29.89 seconds two weeks ago and that is around her time. She might get down into the 29.70 seconds, but she is not a 29.50 second bitch and never has been.

Trainer Travis Elson.

“What she does is she gets out and says: ‘Catch me if you can.’

“She fights pretty hard to keep that lead when she gets it. I am really happy with the way she is because she is only at the start of her campaign at the moment.”

Elson considers Michael Lalicz’s Seaton Key (box four) as the biggest danger in what is a quality field.

“Seaton Key’s run on that (wet) track last week was a pretty good run,” he said.

“If you had suggested that someone was going to go 30-dead on that track, I would have laughed at you.”

Elson is still to decide who is the pick of his home-bred Fernando Bale and Nan's Magic litter.

Other than the proven Super Scrub, he also has Aidan’s Queen, Speed Zone, Danger Zone and Travis’s Scrub contesting the QGOLD Emerging Sprinters heats.

“It is still hard to predict which is or will be the best out of this litter, but Danger Zone and Super Scrub are probably the two stand outs at the moment,” he said.

“They will both be hard to beat in these heats. I think those two will also be competitive in the upcoming (Group 1) Flying Amy.

Seaton Key Next Racing
Bear's Bullet Next Racing
Super Scrub Next Racing
Speed Zone Next Racing

“Whether or not they will be up to the Brisbane Cup or not only time will tell, but to be honest I will probably throw them in and have a crack because it is on our doorstep.

“Both dogs have broken 30 seconds and both have only got improvement in them.”

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO Luke Gatehouse said there were few better showcases for the industry than QGOLD at the Winter Carnival.

“Across the heats and Finals the breadth and depth of greyhound racing in Queensland is there for all to see,” Gatehouse said.

“Firstly, these are Queensland-bred dogs. So, this is an indicator of just how strong the code is here in the Sunshine State. Then the eight Finals step you through the variety of racing that this industry offers.

“Different distances – the explosive 331 metre Blitz through to the 710 metre stayers. There are also the different ages – the rookies through to the veterans.

“The trainers and owners love this concept because not only are all Finals under the Thursday night lights at headquarters, but also the prize money is fantastic. More than $200,000 in prize money is on offer for QGOLD races at the Winter Carnival.

“It really is a great way to launch what will be another fantastic carnival at Albion Park, with the initial focus being on our own home-grown stars.”

Gatehouse’s comments were echoed by Racing Queensland’s Greyhound Operations Manager Doug Lutherborrow.

“The diversity and variety of the QGOLD races at the Winter Carnival are the most attractive aspects of this feature,” Lutherborrow said.

“We have received plenty of interest from the major interstate kennels who are keen to bring the best of the best here for the carnival.

“But, the fact that we have the locals in the spotlight first up is a great way to start.”

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO Luke Gatehouse.