Hunter Valley trainer Michael Lill is experiencing the ride of his life at present, having returned to the art of training after dabbling into the craft 2-years ago. Lill and his wife Michelle spent the majority of their time creating their own breeding and training establishment at Greta, approximately one-hour North of Newcastle.
Lill’s first taste of major success came in 2008, when he bred a litter by Hallucinate out of Special Sauce, which produced Jason Mackay’s champion sprinter Big Bunga. A winner of 26 races including the Group Two Tweed Heads Galaxy in 2010, Big Bunga’s litter sister Thickness, is responsible for Lill’s current talented sprinter, Hot Sauce.
He broke in ok and has just kept on improving every time we have trialled him. He’s that type of dog that could basically train himself, he does everything right’.
Stepping out on debut at Unibet Gardens two weeks ago, the youngster at just 19 months of age, blew away his opposition in a flying 22.78 over the 400m. In almost a carbon copy performance last Saturday night, exiting from box six, was flawless once again in clocking a fast 22.81, much to the delight of his trainer.
‘I knew he could go ok but I was very surprised when he run that time in his maiden. Last week’s performance just touched my heart, particularly from that tricky box, I was so proud of him’ said Lill.
‘Even though his very young, he just told us he was ready to race. His got that mentality and attitude and is very easy to train’ Lill added.
Lill is adamant his rewards are the result of a team effort, with glowing praise for his wife Michelle, whom he met whilst working at John Hawkes Racing in Sydney
‘I couldn’t do any of this without my wife. I work crazy hours; sometimes I start at 3am and do the dogs before I go. Every time I come home the dogs are done exactly how I want them.’
‘She’s amazing and I can’t say enough about how fantastic she has been in helping me and its great to see we’re having some success.’
Lill is currently preparing Hot Sauce’s littermates for their race track debuts, with pleasing reports regarding their progress.
‘Ness Quick is going really well in her trials and Thinner has got plenty of ability which is very exciting. We have been really blessed as the whole litter can run’.
Having established himself as a successful breeder, Lill’s reasoning behind selecting Elite Blue Size for his broodbitch Thickness resulted from witnessing Big Bunga’s biggest victory at Tweed Heads.
‘Elite Blue Size ran second to Big Bunga in the Tweed Heads Galaxy and I thought it was a super run by him. He probably hasn’t been as popular at stud as I thought he would but that didn’t deter me from using him and it seems to be paying off’.
Lill recently sold a litter of pups by Don’t Knocka Him out of Special Sauce that are 5 months of age and should provide interesting viewing for breeding enthusiasts once they hit the race track.
At present, Lill and his family are ecstatic with their establishment and patience is Lill’s key factor to being a successful trainer.
‘Patience is everything in this sport. We treat each greyhound as an individual and you need to treat them that way’.
With no greater sacrifices evident than those made by the Lill family, proves that anyone, no matter what their situation, can succeed in this wonderful sport and be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.