Sue Ellis

published: 25 Jul 2014 in Q&A

Now under ownership of a Hong Kong-based company Victoria’s Eliza Park International is recognized as a major player on the Australian thoroughbred scene.

This year the stud will stand 11 stallions but that is only part of EPI’s operation.

In recent times EPI has been placing a greater emphasis on its racing division as well as the breaking, pre-training and the rehabilitation of older racehorses.

With this in mind Stallions questioned the company’s  General Manager of Racing and Administration Sue Ellis about this new direction, facilities on the property and other matters.



Q.: Is EPI moving in a new direction as far as services are concerned

A.: Definitely. We are becoming a lot more racing orientated with top quality stock being sent to most of our leading trainers. Our aim is to provide the very best facilities for all aspects of breaking, pre-training and rehabilitation.


Q.: Is the construction of a water walker an important part of this process

A.: The water walker will rapidly become a vital tool, particularly in the rehabilitation area as well as pre-training.


Q.: What benefits will the water walker provide

A.: Water walkers have been around for a while now and most experts agree that the ability to exercise horses in water as part of their fitness regime is very effective in keeping horses sound and in assisting with longevity. Manufactured in New Zealand, this is the first Magnum water walker to be constructed in Victoria. Apart from being chemical free, it is an excellent design with horse safety and welfare in mind.


Q.: What ancillary facilities will be alongside the water walker

A.: We have a treadmill, a hydrotherapy spa, a hospital box with infra red lighting (for the treatment of back issues), a sand track and a hill track.


Q.: What has prompted this increased concentration on rehabilitation and pre-training

A.: Breaking and pre-training has been an integral part of our business for the past 12 years and we have many leading trainers already using our services. However, we had not made any major improvements in that time and we needed to offer more up-to-date facilities to continue operating successfully.


Q.: Does EPI also have veterinary facilities.

A.: We have a resident veterinarian as well as hospital facilities so that we can provide the best possible care. This includes post-surgery care as well as rehabilitation following injuries such as tendon and ligament damage.


Q.: Is EPI expanding its pre-training operation

A.: We are in the process of building 28 king size boxes with rubber floors for rehabilitation horses. Breaking and pre-training will occupy the 47 boxes in the main barn, while we also have a 10-box barn for our resident racing horses. This gives us 85 boxes in total, with clearly designated areas along with highly professional staff. By offering the best facilities so close to metropolitan tracks (only 40 minutes from Flemington). I believe that our business will expand especially with an increasing number of horses in training throughout Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.


Q.: What is the design of the new hill track

A.: We started the hill track a couple of years ago and the first section is now in use. We have yet to decide on the final surface but it will be approximately 2000m in length with a steady uphill gradient.


Q.: What other features do you have for horses in pre-training

A.: We have excellent track riders from all over the globe with each bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise with them. We treat every horse as an individual which means that the workload and feed requirements are planned according to each horse’s best interests. As I am a licensed trainer, we can utilize the track at Kyneton, which is proving very beneficial in giving horses a day-out to further their experience. What is more we can educate horses right through to gaining a barrier certificate before they arrive with their trainer. More interstate and overseas trainers are asking for horses to be educated right up to barrier trial stage and we are experiencing very good results.


Q.: How long have you been at Eliza Park

A.: For 10 years now but it seems like forever.


Q.: What do your duties entail

A.: My work day commences at 5 a.m. and usually finishes around 6 p.m. I plan and organize each day around horses, staff and clients which, I guess, is the essence of my duties. Then there is cost control, budgets, reporting and keeping an eye on farm administration. It is a very busy schedule but one I enjoy immensely. My staff are outstanding and this makes my role a lot easier and much more manageable.


Q.: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside the thoroughbred industry

A.: We have just bought a little place on the river at Nelson and whenever time allows we go there. My youngest daughter rides show jumpers so most Sundays, during the summer months (when I am free) are spent at competitions. I also enjoy a game of tennis, gardening and reading but at the moment that is more a memory than a reality. I have to say that my entire life has revolved around the horse industry in one form or another.