With experiences Brian Ellison has had in Australia one wouldn’t blame him from turning his back and saying “not for me”.
But when you look back at his career in racing, it isn’t a surprised that the man from Newcastle, England has a little bit more grit than that.
This year he has two horses in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, Moyenne Corniche who is a $26 chance with Luxbet and Saptapadi at $91.
The 59 year-old has been in the racing business all his life – well almost all of it.
The Gordie thought himself as a budding footballer in his younger days and wanted to play for the The Magpies.
“I was one of the best footballers in the school,” he says
Ellison was laughed at by the school careers adviser, who said that he would not make it as a professional footballer due to his height.
At the time he was under five foot (1.52.4cm).
Being small in stature there was a back-up plan – becoming a jockey.
At the age of 15 he left school to pursue that career and rode his first winner Ponder Rock at Hexham at just his second race ride.
In truth the promising start didn’t amount to a great career, though it was a long one.
Ellison was regarded as a ‘journeyman jockey’ and admits that “most of the horses I rode were bad ones,” he says.
He rode until the age of 39 but dabbled in training as well.
The racing authorities took hold and told Ellison to pick one or the other, not both.
Ellison became a trainer at Malton in North Yorkshire, moved on to Durham before returning to Malton at the turn of the century.
For 20 years he has built a stable that now contains over 60 horses of flat horses and jumpers.
During the last decade he has visited to Australia with limited success and tragedy.
In 2005 Carte Diamond impaled itself on a metal stake in a trackwork accident at Sandown quarantine centre in Melbourne.
He returned after making a miraculous recovery only to be ruled out of the Melbourne Cup on veterinary advice.
He had another horse in Australia with some ability called Bay Story who ran some nice placings in 2006 and returned in 2007.
After missing a 2007 Melbourne Cup start, Ellison raced him in the Lavazza Long (2800m) on Cup day when Bay Story sadly broke a leg.
Moyenne Corniche and Saptapadi will go around on in the 2011 Melbourne Cup at long odds but all Ellison’s life has resembled a long shot and there is no signs of giving up.
Cup hope may come in the fact that Americain is $5 on Luxbet and drifting in the betting just a day out from the race.
Ellison says he couldn’t be happier with the pair who will go into the race fresh.
“Just the way they like it,” he said.”
One gets the feeling that even in defeat Ellison will be back for more.
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