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UNGRATEFUL ELLEN GAINS HER CHANCE IN BALLARAT CUP

BY Adrian Dunn - @adriandunn2
1 year ago Horse Owners

Ungrateful Ellen's trainer Robert Smerdon. Photo: Martin King/Getty Images

WHEN you’ve got a mare named Something Funny, a part-owner with a devilish sense of humour, another who’s a comedian and yet other who’s an entertainer then naming the mare’s progeny presents endless and creative opportunities.

That’s a backdrop to how David Price, Russell Gilbert and John Rothfield, aka Dr Turf, named Ungrateful Ellen, the $5.50 pre-post favourite with Palmerbet for Saturday’s $300,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200 m).

But, wait—there are a couple of earlier chapters that need explanation before we get to Ungrateful Ellen. It all began nearly a quarter of a a century ago when Price, an enthusiast for the punt and all things that happen on a racetrack, struck up a friendship with Robert Smerdon, who was like-minded. He had something extra—he came from a lineage of horsemen and horse trainers. The pair struck up a powerful friendship.

When Price moved to Hong Kong, distance did not challenge their relationship: it’s flourished to the point where Price is now Smerdon’s biggest client with about 50 horses on the books. Most of those horses eventually end up in Hong Kong, but some, like Ungrateful Ellen, stay with Smerdon. One of the horses that Price did sell was Silent Witness, a winner of his first 17 starts, and who became the best sprinter in the world. Silent Witness is now back home at Living Legends at Greenvale on Melburne’s fringe.

But, back to the Ungrateful E...

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