Veleski's Training Career Off To A 'Flyer'

ROOKIE trainer Bobbi Veleski couldn’t have imagined a better start to 2020 with his charge Cavernando - the Cranbourne East trainer’s first greyhound.

Adam Dobbin

20 February 2020

ROOKIE trainer Bobi Veleski couldn’t have imagined a better start to 2020 with his charge Cavernando – the Cranbourne East trainer’s one and only greyhound.

In fact, 15-time winner Cavernando, set to take his place in race eight at Sandown on Thursday night, is the only chaser the 33 year-old trainer has ever put the polish on.

“I only got my trainers licence 2 ½ years ago,” said Veleski.

“My father-in-law Graham Nicoll trains greyhounds and one day I decided I wanted to give training a go myself. I jumped onto the website and saw some pups by Fernando Bale out of Cavendish Flyer for sale. I ended up buying a dog at six months old, which is Cavernando.”

That purchase by Veleski has proven to be a shrewd one indeed.

Heading into Thursday night’s 3/4th grade assignment at Sandown Park, Cavernando boasts 15 wins and has many placings from 48 career starts.

His career prize money earnings sits at $32,900, a good chunk of that added recently with the July 2016 whelp having stepped out on seven occasions so far in 2020 for two wins, three seconds and two thirds.

The most recent of those efforts was last Thursday’s big-odds Sandown win, leading all-the-way in 29.92 for an elated Veleski.

“When I bought him I said to myself if I could win back what I paid for him I’d be more than happy,” said Veleski.

“So he’s gone well beyond that for me. Actually, with some of the prize money he’s earned I’ve bought a second pup now by Barcia Bale which I’m really looking forward to.”

Rather interestingly, last Thursday’s surprise Sandown win was the first time Veleksi had raced his gun charge at the circuit since his debut race track performance when finishing fourth in June 2018.

“He won five of his first seven starts and one of those was at The Meadows on a Saturday night; being my first dog I’ve had to learn about placing them correctly just as much as the training side of things,” Veleski said.

“Something I’ve picked up along the way is that you take them where they need to go not where you want to go. I’ve been quite happy going around picking up his low-grade wins at the provincials and luckily he’s only had one real injury, an issue with a toe that kept him out for a few months in the middle of last year.”

Veleski does admit to be slightly surprised with last week’s big odds win.

“It was a bit of a shock but his early speed is his best strength,” Veleksi said.

“It’s a lot harder this Thursday night with some very fast dogs in the race but if he comes out and doesn’t get knocked early he’ll be doing his best. But yes, it’s a big step up.”

Veleski, who juggles full-time work with training two greyhounds and caring for his five-month old son Luca with partner Rachael, says he’s quite content keeping his entry into the training ranks on a hobby basis.

“Yes with work, the dogs and looking after my son it keeps me busy enough,” Veleski added.

“It’s a hobby for me and I’m absolutely loving it. Win, lose or draw on Thursday night Cavernando will get his McDonald’s treat on the way home.

“I’ve had plenty of good people helping me and teaching me little things along the way including of course my father-in-law Graham.

“And I’ve been very lucky to get one as good as Cavernando as my first dog.”