Nineteen year old Western Sydney trainer Amy Bennett is about to embark on the biggest journey of her training career this Thursday night at Dapto, when her smart chaser Little Elsie exits from box one in the Group Two Dapto Puppy Auction Classic.
After priming Little Elsie for this series, Bennett is on the verge of claiming her first Group race and a cash prize of $75,000 for her efforts. At such a young age, it’s no wonder the university student is astounded at her prospect.
“I’m amazed that I have a 1 in 8 chance of winning $75,000. I cried after she won on Thursday, I was just so proud of how far she has come. She used to turn in the boxes, so we sent her back to Glengarrie and they did an awesome job with her. Now she begins like a dream every start. I’ve come so close to winning a Group race in the past, running second and third but hopefully this is the one.”
Little Elsie began the series in brilliant fashion, jumping smartly and leading all the way in a solid 30.23. Her improvement last week during her semi-final was very pleasing to her young trainer, again putting in an all the way display from box one in 30.03.
“She improved two tenths on her heat time last week so I was stoked. I’m expecting her to improve again as she has every week. Drawing box one is great because it wins you races. She won’t have to cross any other dogs and she’s been beginning every time. One thing I will be looking for is to see if she scratches the boxes before the start, because if she doesn’t she will begin cleanly again.”
Beautifully bred by El Grand Senor out of Oxley Amy, Little Elsie began her career at Gosford over the short-course distances. She recently journeyed north for a successful campaign at Casino, which ignited her form, and she has won three of her past four including a second placing at Wentworth Park.
“Brad Northfield did an awesome job with her at Casino. She racked up two great wins and his guidance was amazing, I’m very grateful for his help.”
Recording her seventh win from just eighteen starts last Thursday, Bennett now has plenty of options up her sleeve for the two-year old, including the age classic Group One Laurels in Victoria and Group One National Futurity at Unitbet Gardens in February.
Bennett is having an outstanding year on the training circuit having racked up 23 winners in 2013, including 26 minor placings. She began learning her craft under the watchful eye of her father, Vincent Bennett, a very successful trainer who runs his own business, with Amy now in charge of their breeding and training operations.
“My dad is my best mate and the business wouldn’t run smoothly without his ongoing support. He has given me so much guidance and I can’t thank him enough for everything he has taught me, and my mum who puts up with me. She loves the dogs also and comes to the track when she can; it’s great to have so much family support. I have a new kennel hand Lauren McFadyen, she comes over every weekend and reminds me of what I was like a few years ago, wanting to learn as much as she can, her hard-work is amazing. I just really hope Elsie can do it for them as much as me because it’s truly a team effort.”
Little Elsie is only owner Dave Galvin’s third dog and after rejecting a large offer from overseas before the heats of the Dapto Puppy Auction commenced, it’s evident the right decision was made.
“Dave just loves her to bits and loves her like a pet so he couldn’t sell. He will breed with her when she’s finished. She is everything you can ask for in a dog, she’s great at home, easy to train and is becoming a really good chaser, with plenty of improvement left.”
This Thursday night a young trainer will aspire to achieve a lifelong dream and inspire a new generation of trainers in the process.