Carte Diamond crashes into the metal running rail days before the 2005 Melbourne Cup after losing a jockey near the 800m mark.

Bruce Clark’s column for Racenet with England manager Brian Ellison and Melbourne Cup contender Tashkhan

How come Brian Ellison, a Geordie, son of a shipbuilder from Tyneside, his mother a cleaner in a hospital, one of eight children from a working class family in Newcastle England, is such a tragic of the Melbourne Cup?

After all, he wanted to be a footballer when he was at John Marley High School, but at just 145cm, his career advisers rightly suggested he was too short. So why not become a jockey, a challenge given that you have never ridden a horse.


But he’s been in the national hunt for 20 years, never thinking about the first Tuesday in November at Flemington, a far cry from his beautiful Spring Cottage stables in Malton, Yorkshire where he’s planning a long-awaited spring return from Melbourne with the remnant emergent star Tashkhan.

Ellison is one of the most likable characters in racing, slow horses and bad luck have never dampened his passion, especially for the Cup.

Now 70, that’s not to say he’s one of Britain’s most successful dual-purpose (flat and jumps) racehorse trainers, it’s just that he’s not not the household name but that he has nevertheless earned a well-deserved reputation in his hugs.

But when it comes to the Cup, Ellison has the same record in the race as a trainer as Frankie Dettori as a jockey – both young ladies, but both chasing the Loving Cup.


Understand that it took 30 years of trying through his Darley and Godolphin brands and a lot of money for Sheikh Mohammed to finally succeed with Cross Counter.

Ellison obviously doesn’t have the same ammo, but who does? But surely if there was room for sentiment in the race that is stopping our nation and has plagued the Ellison family, Tashkhan – bought to jump from odds of 57 for around $25,000 – is the story of well -be this year.

You may remember Ellison back with Carte Diamond in 2005, running a blinder in the Caulfield Cup luring Brett Prebble back from Hong Kong for the Cup only to see a tragic lane accident from which he crashed. practically impaled with one leg on a Flemington fence.

Diamond Card crashes into the running rail days before the 2005 Melbourne Cup.

Carte Diamond survived, returned a year later, only to have vets rule him out with a tendon injury long before they got really serious about it.

Bay Story came on that same trip, was placed in a Bart Cummings but didn’t qualify, ran second to the Lavazza Long Black on Cup day and would go to Perth to miss the Cup there so that he was at 3200 m.

Undeterred, Ellison returned with Bay Story for the 2007 Cup, again missing the Cup ground but would have done so had emergencies been declared.

So it was Lavazza again and tragedy again. Up front, he crashed and broke his leg in front of the massive Cup Day crowd 100m from the post and had to be taken down.

He returned in 2011 with Moyenne Corniche, winner of the Ebor that year (he finished 15th) and Saptapadi, who came through the Caulfield Cup and raced alongside his stable mate in 16th in the Cup.

“We haven’t had much luck, have we? Ellison said after I employed the interpreter to translate the accent, while at the same time leading the understatement of the year’s issues.

But why the Cup? And this elusive dream?

Werribee Trackwork.  International Horses.  Trainer Brain Ellison watches his two LtoR horses.  Andrew Robertson on Saptapadi and Harriet Bethell on Moyenne Corniche.

Brian Ellison watches his two horses Saptapadi and Moyenne Corniche at Werribee in

Also on the wall of his home office is a map of Victorian wineries, pinned with those visited and enjoyed. (It will change this trip because Ellison explains that he stopped drinking for eight months).

“I don’t know, I just remember watching the movie Phar Lap when I was a kid. I used to watch the race every year, I watched the biggest races and thought there weren’t any. bigger than the Melbourne Cup.

“And I read Bart Cummings’ book…twice, and I don’t read a lot of books. It just fascinated me,” said Ellison, who became a John Williamson fan on previous trips and “True Blue” would be his karaoke. Standard.


Ellison vividly recalls previous travels, friendships and experiences, with his wife Claire, a black belt in mixed martial arts (as well as cooking champion, favorite movie The Notebook!) if he got a little out of control.

“I remember snakes, kangaroos, f. king kangaroos and spiders, chopping wood in the middle of the night,” he says.

And he remembers that he was offered to wear the colors of Phar Lap, the horse which launched this chase, in the Cup with Diamond Card when he did not succeed.

Ellison based himself at Denistoun Park (as well as Cape Schanck where he worked alongside Jim Conlan) on the Mornington Peninsula and remembers the opportunity.

Trainer Brian Ellison and his horse Carte Diamond as he prepares him for the 2006 Melbourne Cup at Jim Conlan's stables in Cape Schank

Brian Ellison with Diamond Card as he prepares for the 2006 Melbourne Cup at Jim Conlan’s stables in Cape Schanck.

“The woman who owned the house, either her father or her grandfather, was part of the Phar Lap story and asked me if I wanted to run in the original colors. I thought why not, we needed all the help we could get, but it just wasn’t,” Ellison said.

“The thing about the Cup is that any man can win it. I’ll never win a Derby here, but if I get the right horse on the right day I can win the Cup, it’s just hard to have the right horse.”

But Ellison never thought Tashkhan was the right horse for the Cup.

Tashkhan had three starts for original coach Emmet Mullins and performed poorly, beaten 200-1 in his last start of 2020, castrated and returned to a bet at Navan, before Ellison fell .

“I bought him for Patrick Boyle to jump off Emmet, I just called him after that win and he never stopped improving,” Ellison said.

“Patrick is a lovely family man, he has been with me for three years and has never had a winner, but he also has the dream of the Cup. He is in the construction game and his whole family is involved. “

Tashkhan now holds an international rating of 115, which will see him rank well in the Cup handicaps when he exits next month and separate Trushan and Stradivarius in a Group 2 Ascot Long Distance Cup as well as a 5th useful place in the Ascot Gold Cup, is as good a form as you will find this year.

“This horse is the right horse, the best horse I’ve trained,” Ellison added.

“He’s such a laid-back but very intelligent galloper, he doesn’t show you anything at home, but if he has ease on the ground he’s even better.”

Ellison is currently maintaining partnerships with Australian owners in Tashkhan as vet reports await and it’s not hard to see why, not just travel and acceptance fees, but the dismal state of horse racing prizes British.

“In the standings there are probably 23 better horses than him in Britain, but if you can get past Stradivarius and find the right ground, you’re a serious horse and this guy is,” he said.

“I’ll lead him into the Lonsdale Cup (where Stradivarius and Trushan dominate the market for Gold Cup winner Kyprios – neither of whom are coming for the Cup) then come on the first expedition the veterans Racing Victoria came out on Wednesday to have a look at him, but he’s the strongest horse in training here.”


Ellison is keen to race him in the Cox Plate leading up to the Melbourne Cup, his record would suggest the $1million Moonee Valley Gold Cup is a more available offer.

As Ellison ponders another Melbourne Cup tilt and hopes the wind is behind him, he is reminded of the elusiveness of the trophy he is chasing.

“You know he’s been here, they (the VRC) brought him here for a photo op, that’s as close as we got,” Ellison said.

No one would deny Ellison or appreciate him finally getting it this year.

#Bruce #Clarks #column #Racenet #England #manager #Brian #Ellison #Melbourne #Cup #contender #Tashkhan

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