Brian Ellison will realise a long-held ambition when he sends The Mackem Bullet out for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs on Friday.
The North Yorkshire-based trainer has gained a deserved reputation as a top dual-purpose handler in recent years, winning big races over jumps and on the level – and even having runners in the Melbourne Cup (Moyenne Corniche and Saptapadi in 2011).
But to have a contender – one with a real chance – at this meeting has him bubbling with excitement.
“It’s what every trainer wants more than anything, coming here. That’s what you’re in it for,” Ellison said after supervising the work of his narrow Lowther Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up.
“I’ve taken a horse to the Melbourne Cup in the past, but the nervous excitement I’ve had for the last few weeks over my filly has been quite incredible.
“She is stepping up in trip, but Oisin (Murphy), who has ridden her twice, and Ben (Curtis) the once, both say she wants further.”
He added: “I think she was a bit unlucky on her first couple of starts, but then it all clicked and she’s never looked back.
“I know Oisin fancies her, and in fairness she has got the best form of the English fillies in the race.
“The owner Brian Robe is a Sunderland fan, and I’m a Geordie – but there’s no angst between us! Brian has in fact sold the filly to a Japanese (Katsumi Yoshida) – and under the arrangement that Brian has with the new owner, this will be her last run for me.
“She is staying out here before a season’s more racing, but after that will she end up at stud in Japan.”