Rookie trainer shocked with Shepparton Cup win

Young trainer Jake Loverso was in disbelief as his star chaser Lektra Heckler took out the $74,335 Group 2 CKH Painting Shepparton Cup (450m) on Saturday night.

This was 27-year-old Loverso’s first runner in a group final and it was a night he will never forget as Lektra Heckler blitzed a star-studded line-up from the moment the lids opened, leading all the way in 24.952sec.

Lektra Heckler is unbeaten in eight starts for Loverso, who leveraged on his close relationship with breeder/owner Phil Lenehan to get hold of the rising star.

“I’ve got to hand it to Phil. I’ve known him for a few years now and late last year I saw Lektra Heckler had injured himself so I asked Phil if I could train him,” Loverso said.

WATCH: Lektra Heckler beats home Unleash Collinda and Always A Thrill.

“Phil was training him at the time but he backed me in and we haven’t looked back. Not only is Phil a champion breeder, but he’s one of the best owners. He never interferes and just let’s me do what I do.”

“I called him straight after the race tonight and he was ecstatic. He always knew this was a quick dog and it was just a matter of keeping him injury-free.”

Loverso hinted he’d likely continue on the country cups circuit with Lektra Heckler, with the Ballarat and Warrnambool Cups taking place over the coming weeks.

“I’d love to win the Warrnambool Cup for Phil, given that’s his home town,” he said.

Asked what sets Lektra Heckler apart, Jake said… “He’s quiet at home, except on race day. He’s a brilliant box dog and he gets white like fever like his owner,” he laughed.

The Pearcedale trainer acknowledged Tom Dailly for “giving me a start” in greyhound racing, and David Knocker, father of Jake’s partner Kayla Cottrell, who trained the runner-up in last year’s Shepparton Cup, Robbie Rotten.

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