Easy Flo‘wing’ Breeders’ Stakes victory

“I guess you can call this win decent compensation for Flo after missing the Silver Collar,” a relieved Karen Walsh said after training Thrilling Flo to an effortless victory in Friday’s NZ Breeders’ Stakes.

Pic: NZ Breeders’ Stakes winner Thrilling Flo

It was apparent when heading towards the end of the Hatrick back straight that this Gary Harding bred and owned daughter of Collision and Thrilling Angel was going to be the major player in the finish of the $40,000 Group 1 event.

As expected it was the Lisa Cole prepared Allegro Gun who was first away from the Hatrick 520m traps to undertake the early pace-making duties. Kennelmate Bigtime Flyer made a sound beginning to get himself handy while Thrilling Flo was in close attendance down on the rail.

Racing down to the back mark it was Allegro Gun who reached it first in in 18.36s with Bigtime Flyer just in behind him. Thrilling Flo was stalking the pacesetters at that point, cruising along perfectly poised to pounce on the pair boldly chasing along in front of her.

Pounce she did which saw Thrilling Flo come away with ease to provide her conditioner, plus also her owner and breeder Gary Harding with their fourth NZ Breeders’ Stakes title. Thrilling Flo greeted judge Jack Cooper holding a clear two length margin, stopping the clock in a smart 29.90s.

Allegro Gun (Spring Gun – Hifi Allegro) was gallant in the way he held down the runners’ up prize when he fended off the strong finish that the Dave and Jean Fahey prepared Opawa Brad (Winsome Opawa – Opawa Andrea) produced by a head. The winner’s kennelmate Thrilling Surge (Sergio – Thrilling Ella) was also sighted doing his best work at the business end when he arrived home another length astern.

There were only three trainers, representing the three national racing regions, involved in this Black type final and it was entirely appropriate that the three conditioners were all represented by greyhounds on the post-race podium.

Thrilling Flo Allegro Gun Opawa Brad

Race day handler Sophie Whittaker with her ‘pride and joy’ NZ Breeders’ Stakes winner Thrilling Flo; runner-up Allegro Gun with handler Sam Lozell; handler Ross Mathers with third placed Opawa Brad

Thrilling Flo had been delivering strong staying races and the on the pace stayer was heading towards the Plasterboard Duke of Edinburgh Silver Collar series as a serious contender. That was until she was injured in a freakish training incident, tearing away a slice of skin. That set her back sufficiently in terms of missing vital lead in work for the targeted Silver Collar.

Undeterred Walsh then refocused and aimed Thrilling Flo towards the NZ Breeders’ Stakes. She showed no ill effects from her mishap, qualifying for the Group 1 final when finishing second in her heat. As her conditioner had advised in the pre-race interview she had expected her charge to have benefited from her heat outing. Thrilling Flo certainly displayed that anticipated improvement.

“Yes she went really great. She got herself in a good spot and she was travelling really good down the back, ready to strike. Yes, it certainly was nice to win a Group 1 with Flo after her ‘untimely run-in with a fence,’” reflected the Tirau based trainer, was also referring to the incident that forced a change in plans that ultimately led to Thrilling Flo’s stylish victory.

“It is an absolute thrill to achieve success in this race again. You are up against your peers matching the best you have bred against the best others have bred. Gary was over the moon with Floe’s win and I’m so rapt for him as he loves it. Gary is very passionate about his racing involvement,” added Walsh which now sees the hugely successful breeding, rearing, owning and training partnership deservedly savouring their fourth NZ Breeders’ Stakes title.

It was also a real sweet result for Thrilling Flo’s handler Sophie Whittaker who has developed a very strong affinity with the greyhound, attending to her daily needs. “Absolutely rapt with Flo winning. I was devastated when she missed the Silver Collar so yes, she deserved to win this. She showed her strength in winning it,” said Whittaker.

Walsh also praised her fast finishing fourth place finisher Thrilling Surge. “I thought he was brilliant – if he had a got a decent draw he would have been awfully hard to beat. He can’t get a draw when it counts. He is our fastest trial dog who just hard out wants to be hard on the rail.

“This win is a result of teamwork at home. Sophie (Whittaker) and Taylor (Thornton), along with Greg (Hore) and Kay (Brathwaite), who helps out with the break in’s with Greg a couple of days a week, all contribute to successes like this,” confirmed Walsh.

She then advised that Thrilling Flo, along with Thrilling Surge, Thrilling Raider, plus the recent slick Cambridge 375m qualifier Ridin’ Shotgun will all be nominated for the Amazing Chase match race series.

That action-packed series provides Thrilling Flo with every opportunity of being able to further advance on the $67,310 stakes she has so far gathered which is the result of her high strike rate of 15 wins and ten minor placings from her 31 race day appearances.

Bring it on!

Lisa Cole dominates the NZ Breeders’ Stakes undercard

It sure was a complete domination of the undercard by the Lisa Cole kennels. Aside from mentoring the NZ Breeders’ Stakes runner-up, she trained a staggering nine winners on the twelve race card – here’s pictorial round up of them all.

Bigtime Phantom Daisy LaraBigtime OnFire Bigtime Fever Bigtime Opal Bigtime Basher Bigtime Blue Absinthe Minded Bigtime Sugar

From top left: Bigtime Phantom started the ball rolling when winning the first race 520m event pictured here with handler Wendy Kite; Daisy Lara was next up when she took out her C4 305m dash seen here with Georgie Cole; Bigtime OnFire then won her C3 520m event which resulted in a rather crowded podium with her being surrounded by members of her owing Wanganui East Bowling Club syndicate; next up was Bigtime Fever who scored in the C4 305 sprint with Georgie Cole keeping count of the winning tally; the exciting youngster Bigtime Opal prevailed in the open class 305m dash; Bigtime Basher and Bigtime Blue then went on to wins heats for the C3 305m feature series; Absinthe Minded prevailed in the open class 520m race, pictured here with handler Georgie Cole, along with kennel hand Maddie Hamilton; it was reserve runner Bigtime Sugar who completed the training route by taking out the last race C2 305m dash seen with handler Alan Trass, while Brendon Cole signals the kennels winning tally for the evening

Irinka Dracy Increasing Tom McCracken

Northern trainer Sean Codlin travelled south with his promising sprinter Irinka Darcy who stylishly won her C2 sprint. He’s pictured here post race with Shardae Hunt; Nathan Udy was just one of three trainers during the evening who placed a winner on top of the podium after he prepared Increasing to win his C3 305m heat. He was joined at the podium with his nephews Caleb and Charlie McCracken; a feature during the evening was the 60th birthday being celebrated by long-time industry participant Tom McCracken who is involved in Scooters Rose who finished third in the Happy 60th Tom McCracken C5 305m sprint. Tom is seen here with son Steven, who made a surprise trip across the Tasman for Friday, his partner Joanne Sayer, Angela Udy and partner another of Tom’s sons Hayden, who is holding Scooters Rose and their children Caleb (blue) and Charlie

By Peter Fenemor


Posted on 19/06/2017 5:04:06 PM

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