Ella Cole selected as March GRNZ Board Award winner

Ella Cole has a special relationship with greyhounds – she’s pictured here with Nangar Ridge, Bronski Beat, Power Boom and Bigtime Brody. Photo supplied.


Ella Cole has been named the latest recipient of the GRNZ Board Award.

“I’m very surprised to have been nominated and also to have won!” says the daughter of greyhound identities Lisa and Brendon Cole.

“But I’m also really happy that someone has recognised that I work hard.”

Cole was nominated by prominent owner, Craig Rendle, who said, “Ella’s dedication to the Cole team is undeniable and includes travelling from her Palmerston North base to both Christchurch and the northern clubs of Auckland and Waikato. She is such a positive person.”

The 19-year-old was born into greyhound racing, with both of her parents working as trainers over the years.

“I’ve been handling them since I was just a kid, and I’ve loved them ever since. All I’ve ever talked about is how working with greyhounds is what I want to do.”

Her day generally starts at 7am, and her tasks vary, from looking after the puppies to working with the racedogs to checking them over and ensuring they are ready to race.

Watching the young ones progress into talented racedogs is one of Cole’s favourite parts of working in the kennel.

“My favourite was Trojan Hoarse (multiple Group 1 winner), but now it’s Mustang Charlie and Cash Stack. They’re just really positive dogs. Cash is a nice fawn dog and I clicked with him straight away. Charlie is always wagging his tail, he’s just a big goof,” she laughs.

“I love having that bond with the dogs. If you’re having a bad day, you can go out and see them and it brightens up my day. I love taking them to the races and seeing how they go.”

She even loves the travel, confessing that she sometimes asks her parents to nominate a team for Cambridge so that she can take the dogs to different places. A few weeks ago, she was up at Manukau for Auckland Cup Day. Back in November, she was experiencing the trials and tribulations of limited (and sometimes cancelled) ferry crossings when she took the greyhounds down to Addington for the New Zealand Cup series.

The trips are generally worthwhile. On New Zealand Cup Day, Bigtime Cooper won the Group 1 Galaxy Sprint.

“I remember handling Cooper in the race, and I was pretty nervous. But Dad told me not to worry, so I left it in Cooper’s hands and he did what he had to do.

“It’s very special handling a Group 1 winner. I’m really lucky that Mum and Dad let me take them to the races and handle them in the big races like they do.”

With so much experience under her belt, it’s little wonder that Cole is hoping to take the next step in her career in the near future.

“Hopefully next season I can start training on my own. I’m not sure what the plan is yet, but hopefully my parents will let me train some! I’m really grateful to have Mum and Dad by my side and supporting me through everything.

“To be the best, you have to learn from the best, and I’m really lucky to learn from my parents. I hope to be as successful as they are and make them proud.”

If you want to nominate someone for a GRNZ Board Award, email [email protected] with your nomination and some supporting information.

By Liz Whelan

Posted on 29 March 2022

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