Group racing rookie Ashlee Terry (pictured) is dreaming of toppling some of the biggest names in Australian greyhound racing in Saturday’s CKH Painting Shepparton Cup Final.
Terry, 25, will have only her second runner in a Group event when home-bred American Monster (pictured below in the heats) lines up in the Shepparton Cup, opposed to sprinters prepared by champion big race specialists Jason Thompson, Andrea Dailly and Anthony Azzopardi.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ashlee, who trains a small team in partnership with good friend Andrew Paraskevas at Cranbourne South.
“Twelve months ago we probably would have laughed if you’d said we’d be in a Group race. It probably hasn’t hit home yet because we’ve been so busy since the heats but we’ll probably get more excited as the race gets closer.”
Ashlee was born into greyhound racing and despite losing her father at a young age she followed her parents into the training ranks and is now making her mark, largely through the deeds of American Monster, which also qualified for the Group 2 McKenna Memorial at Sandown in July.
The winner of 18 of his 36 starts, American Monster earned a shot at the $47,000 to-the-winner Shepparton Cup, the second time the race has been staged in 2016 due to a change in date, with a strong-finishing heat second to Sleek Master, one of three Jason Thompson-trained finalists.
Thompson, who boasts three Shepparton Cup victories courtesy of Head Honcho (1993), Whisky Assassin (2004) and Hanify’s Impact (2008), also puts the polish on fastest qualifier Invictus Rapid and Bendigo Cup hero Aston Bolero.
WATCH: American Monster finish second from box two in the Shepparton Cup heats last week.
“It’s definitely a very hard field and we’ve drawn the wrong side of the track in box two,” Ashlee conceded.
“American Monster likes a bit of room and he’s probably better suited to more ground than the 450 metres but he’s in there and we’re very proud of him. It just depends on what happens at box-rise. If he gets out I think he’ll be competitive but you’ve got to do everything right in a race like this.
“He has a lot of ability – he’s a very fast dog – but we don’t have any expectations of winning the race. We’re just happy to be there and if he runs a place we’ll be over the moon.
“We bred American Monster ourselves, which makes it that little bit more special. We’ve got the mother (the interestingly named Father Of Mine) at home and we’ve got a pup from her next litter called My Arizona Room in the final of the Vic Breeders at Horsham on Tuesday after she won her first start in the heats last week.”