Trainer Melanie Elder eyes Evolution series final win with Ashark

Melanie Elder missed Ashark’s wins while she developed her trade in America, but the rookie trainer is hoping he can lift again at Menangle Park on Saturday night and give her an early career highlight.

Melanie Elder

Melanie Elder

Elder, the daughter of Louth Park trainer Darren Elder, will start Ashark in the $20,000 Evolution Series final for three-year-old colts and geldings on Chariots Of Fire night.

The 22-year-old has been training only a few months, since returning from the US, where she worked for Lou Pena and Matias Ruiz. She plans to go back to the US to learn more but in the meantime has a four-horse team in work at home.

Ashark appears the most promising after two wins as a two-year-old. This time in, he was third at Newcastle in the Evolution heats then fifth last-start at Menangle.

Ashark drew well in two for the final, where Melanie’s brother, Brad, has the reins. 

“I bred Ashark from my mare Pagan Love, which was a very honest horse around Newcastle,” Melanie said. “He won his first two races while I was in America, which is a shame, so it would be good to get a win in my name now.

“He’s my baby, I treat him better than I treat myself.

“He raced well there last time but was unlucky. He’s got a lot of ability and this will be his chance to show it.”

Days End, which gave Elder her first winner as a trainer, is in heat two of the MO series. Brad will drive it as well as Shannonsablast and Rockmemama on the program.

Also Saturday night, Newcastle has a nine-race program from 6pm.

As for Days End’s hopes, Melanie said: “He is pretty honest around Newcastle but we’ll see how he goes at Menangle I guess. The good draw in four should suit him and let him show his good sprint finish.

“Days End is honest every week. He always tries and never puts in a bad run.”

Elder hopes to return to America this year or the next. 

“I’m looking to go back,” she said.

“I loved it over there and I think you can never stop learning. Everyone does things differently.

“Horses have been pretty much my life since I was a little kid.

“I started in mini trots and if you’ve got the buzz, you can’t shake it.”