• Thursday, 23 Mar, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Heckler is e‘Lektra’fying!

Life works in mysterious ways… Just ask young Pearcedale trainer Jake Loverso, who knows all about fate.

Loverso was introduced to greyhound racing in his late teens purely by chance.

“I got my start in the sport through Tom and George Dailly,” he said. “I’d never seen a greyhound until Tom offered me a position when I was 19 years old.

“I had been doing odd jobs. But I just couldn’t find a passion for any of them.”

“With the pace he’s got, anything is possible.”

Loverso, 27, epitomises the Latin aphorism ‘carpe diem’. He has seized the day and taken full advantage of the present moment.

Now under Dave Knocker’s mentorship, Loverso experienced his “biggest thrill to date” when Lektra Heckler (Jan ’20 Zambora Brockie x Lektra Viki) snared a Shepparton Cup heat on Monday night.

Lektra Heckler – transferred to Loverso by breeder-owner Phil Lenehan – clocked a fast 24.96sec (second fastest of four heats) defeating dual Healesville track record holder Unleash Collinda.

“I gave Phil a call and asked him if I could train Lektra Heckler,” Loverso said. “He’d already sent us his litter brother, Lektra Rhino, two weeks earlier.”

Loverso’s first ‘black type’ finalist, Lektra Heckler (Box 4) lines up in the $74,335 Group 2 CKH Painting Shepparton Cup (450m) – Race 8, 8.03pm – on Saturday night.

In an extremely open Sportsbet market, Lektra Heckler is the $4.20 second elect – behind Unleash Collinda ($4) – followed by Matt’s Hope ($4.50), Fernando Mick ($4.80) and Salad Dodger ($5).

Lektra Heckler (17 from 39) is unbeaten in seven starts for Loverso. He’s also undefeated in three starts over 450m at Shepparton.

He won his heat from Box 4 and is three from four (with one second) exiting this draw. The most recent Shepparton Cup winner from Box 4 is Paw Licking in 2013.

Click HERE  for Sportsbet’s Shepparton Cup market.

Loverso was reticent on Lektra Heckler’s chances in the $47,000 to-the-winner final, but said “with the pace he’s got, anything is possible”.

“He had a short break leading into the Shepparton Cup series, so I think there may be improvement in him.”

When asked who he thought were the main dangers in the race, Loverso replied: “It’s hard to say, they’re all boxed ambidextrous.”

Loverso, who is the boyfriend of G1-winning trainer Kayla Cottrell, paid tribute to her father, Dave Knocker.

“He’s been a very good mentor to Kayla and I. He’s stepped back to let us take control.”

So, can Loverso give Kayla a ‘run for her money’ and eventually get a G1 on his training CV?

“I’ll try my best,” he quipped.

WATCH: LEKTRA HECKLER (B4) staves off UNLEASH COLLINDA (B1) with a slick 24.96sec performance in a Shepparton Cup heat.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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