By Tony Megahey
The shyness of petite Irish apprentice Ellen Hennessy for racing TV interviews is rapidly disappearing as in career-defining times, she rides with a strike rate to compare with champion Hugh Bowman and a full- book at Monday’s Queanbeyan TAB meeting.
Ellen rode a treble at Saturday’s Orange TAB meeting, made in four wins in succession at Goulburn on Sunday on Luke Pepper’s Fox Beat, and she rides numerous contenders at Queanbeyan.
“She’s a real talent, strong, well-balanced and a great attitude kid - we’ve having a super run at the moment and she’s been a big part of it,” Pepper enthused from the ACT where Ellen rides regular work and also at Queanbeyan.
In-demand Ellen, with 15 wins this season and educated at historic The Curragh along with Tom Sherry, is rapidly closing on her ambition to eventually ride at Royal Randwick.
Ellen’s prime opportunity at Queanbeyan is performed short-course flyer Sky Mission ($3.30 on TAB fixed odds) who has won nine races for ACT trainer Rob Potter and contests the Shots of Coffee MB 58 (900m).
Sky Mission won in fast time at the same 900m last month and the veteran gelding’s 63.5kg is reduced by Ellen’s 3kg claim. Nick Oliver’s The Inflamer ($5) is the main danger and Ellen rode a winner for Olive (Contaminated) at Orange.
Ellen rides Joe Ible’s Brussels ($3.80), well placed for consistency in the second event and a couple of maidens for Mick Smith’s Queanbeyan stable where Ellen is apprenticed. In later races Radiohead ($19) and Pahruli ($3) are her mounts.
Ellen’s biggest supporter is in high excitement from afar. Her mum Martine lives within a staying race of The Curragh Racetrack.
“Wow, her past couple of racing days have just been amazing, we follow her through the Racing NSW website and regular e-mails with one of their racing journos.
"She phones after most meets at all hours over here,” Martine chuckled. “She’s always been a determined little girl and the ability to go with it and she just loves Australia, especially the country race folk.
“When I’ve been there on holidays I’ve travelled to those charming country tracks with Ellen.”