One of Australian Greyhound Racing’s true great stayers passed away today. Elektra was one of the true champions of the modern era and will be greatly missed.
ARG was lucky enough to catch up with her proud owner and long term friend Philip Lenehan to discuss the life and career of an all-time favourite.
“There was two stages to her career. Firstly was her time with Bate and then post-Bate with Keith Harding in WA. It’s funny, Batesy (Graeme Bate) actually announced her retirement to GRV and NGF and looked silly when we sent her to WA. He wasn’t real happy when I pulled her out of retirement, but we thought she would be suited going around the one track consistently at Cannington. She won the Galaxy and was the 2008 WA greyhound of the year, so I think the decision was justified.”
Philip, or Red Eye to his mates, laughed whilst telling a story involving ARG’s own Kevin Pitstock.
“Kevin trialled her one night at Warrnambool before she had raced. He had a black bitch that was similar and we had everyone convinced she was Kevin’s bitch Pitch n Putt. One of Warrnambool’s large punters backed Pitch n Putt off the map at Horsham and of course she ran nowhere.”
“The funny thing is that the plan worked beautifully until we backed her at her first start for a fair whack. Batesy was training for us at the time and had one in the race of Wheeler’s. It was also having its first start and we were told it was just a dog. It had box one and was Dyna Redbull and bolted in. We later found out that Batesy had put a lazy $800 on his and was too smart for us. Dyna Redbull went on to win over 90k in prizemoney. The shame was that 450m was too short for her, or else we might have had the last laugh.”
Whilst speaking to “Red Eye” the passion was obvious when discussing Elektra.
“Jill basically ran the show. She would always bark at strangers and was always a bit different. But we loved her regardless and loved having her around the place. She would just roam and enjoy the property daily. She started everything with the Lektra name and really put our name back on the map.”
When I asked Red Eye what his favourite memory was of this superstar bitch, the answer surprised but made perfect sense.
“It was before the 2006 Sandown Cup final and we were first reserve. Texas Gold was scratched and I was training her myself and was in my first and only group one race as a trainer. Darren McDonald offered 25k and then Dennis Trewin chimed in with a 30k offer before the final and we really ummed and arred about it. My dad wanted to sell, but we decided that we would keep her and the rest is history.”
Elektra wasn’t the only talented bitch to come out of the Primo Uno-Natural Class litter, with the highly talented Speedy Lino also flying the flag for the litter.
“Speedy Lino was meant to be Speedy Uno and the GRV couldn’t read my shithouse handwriting. Everyone wondered where the Lino came from and when she won 80k in prizemoney I didn’t care what she was called. We actually ended up calling one of the others in the litter Speedy Uno and I got my wife Sue to write the papers.”
When we look at a bitch of the ilk of the great Elektra we are instantly drawn to the breeding barn and what she has thrown and what the remainder of the line can produce.
“Lektra Jay was the best of the racedogs. Lektra Radiant also had a lot of ability and Lektra Johnson was a favorite of ours. Elektra and her pups cracked a million in prizemoney and we hope the line can continue. Lektra Scarlett has had a litter to Cosmic Chief and we are hoping that she might carry on the flag for her mum.”
When asked what the favourite Elektra run was, Red Eye was definite and instant.
Watch the replay below and remember one of the all-time greats who is still locked in the top echelon of prizemoney earners in Australian Greyhound Racing history. RIP champion.