Four Auckland Cups for Roberts & Wheeler

Dirk Bale stylishly capped off a sensational 18-hour demolition of Group 1 greyhound race victories by Bale suffix named chasers on both sides of the Tasman when he powerfully dictated terms to his rivals during Sunday’s running of the $88,000 Auckland Cup.

Pictured: Auckland Cup winning greyhound Dirk Bale

The Craig-Roberts-trained chaser is renowned for his early pace and it was that asset he strongly used to telling effect from the Manukau 527m traps. Cutting out his first sectional in a swift 4.59s certainly confirmed his initial pace. Dirk Bale slipped around the first turn holding a two length margin over his rivals, while the balance of the field got involved in a degree of jostling.

Streaming down the back straight was the Dave-and-Jean-Fahey-prepared Shallay Pallay who set off after the tear away pacemaker. Tracking him through was Dirk Bale’s litter brother and kennelmate Allen Ablett.

Dirk Bale was thriving in his pace making role, although the question that lingered when he was rounding the final turn was - did he have a big enough margin to hold on to win the Group 1 event? He emphatically answered that query by maintaining his strong gallop right to the judge to the stop the clock in a very respectable 30.06s. Shallay Pallay also kept up his strong gallop to claim the runner’s up prize 2.5 lengths astern while holding a 1.75 length margin over the third placed Allen Ablett.

It was a double Group 1 hit for Ray Adcock and Jose Arthur for the $1,000 bonus payment that is awarded to the first New Zealand bred greyhound to finish. Tom Tee arrived home in fourth place and in doing so the son of Fabregas and Mini’s Fantasy joined his litter sister Rosa Tee in securing the same bonus that she won via her earlier victory in the Qualified Pet Services Railway Sprint.

Dirk Bale Shallay Pallay Allen Ablett
Dirk Bale and his litter brother Allen Ablett after their 1 – 3 Auckland Cup placings; runner up Shallay Pally and third placed Allen Ablett

“I was nervous when Dirk was racing down the back straight with Shallay Pallay chasing after him. Dirk hasn’t been the strongest during the run home in his races, however when he turned for home I relaxed as he was still chasing real hard.

“I knew he would be an improved dog for the final, but certainly not by that much (30.38s 527m heat win). Geez, his early pace was phenomenal. I guess you can say that Dirk has now broken out of the shadows of his brothers (Allen Ablett & Avenger Bale, who finished seventh in the Cup).

“I’m rapt for Paul (Wheeler, owner) and training another Group 1 winner for him is fantastic – it is an absolute privilege to train greyhounds for the Wheeler family. He has the faith to continue to send these top class greyhounds over here. Dirk’s win has really topped off a great weekend for him,” added Roberts who had just mentored his fourth Auckland winner for the Wheeler family – Dyna Vickers 2016, Nassiray Bale 2001 and Denzil Bale 1999.

Shallay Pallay Tom Tee Dirk Bale
The Auckland GRC continued with their presentation of specially inscribed collar and leads to the connections of all Auckland Cup and Railway Sprint finalists – George (pictured with his wife and Auckland chairman John Roberts) crossed the Tasman to represent the Alvaro Tsohalis syndicate, the owners of second placed Shallay Pallay; Jose Arthur was delighted to receive her commemorative collar and lead for Tom Tee; Auckland Cup winner Dirk Bale was the “guest of honour” when he mixed and mingled with patrons inside the Manukau Stadium after the race meeting seen here with trainer Craig Roberts who is flanked by handlers Bobby Blackburn and Melissa

Paul Wheeler was also generous in his praise for Craig Roberts went he spoke to Dave Carlson on the Going Greyhounds Sky Racing radio program in Sydney on Monday morning. He warmly acknowledged the training efforts by Roberts when saying “That was a tremendous performance by Dirk Bale plus also Allen Ablett. Craig has the brothers going very nicely over there.”

It was a sublime weekend of Group 1 racing for the prolific and hugely successful Sydney based breeder and owner. Wheeler was present on Saturday night at the Melbourne based The Meadows track to witness two of his other “Bale” named greyhounds stylishly taking out Group 1 titles and in doing so create Australian greyhound racing history.

The A$100,000 winning stake that was on offer for the Super Stayers final was sufficient for the Robbie Britton trained Fanta Bale to break the Australian all time stakes record if she won the 725m staying event. Win it she did, even after she was strongly pressured when approaching the final turn. That didn’t faze her as she shrugged off the challenge to claim her ninth career Group 1 victory.

The win lifted her career stake earnings up to amazing $1,365,175. In doing so she raced past the previous A$1,299,370 record held by yet another Wheeler bred and owned greyhound Fernando Bale. He also raced the third greyhound Dyna Double One who has also cracked the seven figures having won A$1,160,316. He is a litter brother to Dyna Vikkers, who was trained on this side of the Tasman by Craig Roberts.

A couple of races later Hecton Bale came out to powerfully win the Australian Cup (525m) and in doing so provided Wheeler with the A$250,000 winning stake. And the Aussie Cup winner was sired by Fernando Bale, who of course is Dirk Bale’s dad.

Going back to the Sydney radio interview with Carlson another comment that Wheeler made when saying that owing to the 50/50 training agreement he has in place with his greyhound trainers that 50 percent of the stakes won by his dogs stays in the regions where the greyhounds are trained in. “That’s great for the industry,” he said. In other words $112,137 of the $224,274 won in this country by the three Craig Roberts trained Fernando Bale and Langi Bale littermates doesn’t go back across the Tasman.

Fanta Bale Fanta Bale Hecton Bale
Fanta Bale became Australia’s highest stakes earning greyhound when she won the Super Stayers final at The Meadows on Saturday and she’s pictured here with trainer Robbie Britton and regular race day handler Pete Riley with Fanta Bale wearing the specially made dress rug that acknowledged her stakes record; Paul Wheeler (2nd right and wife Jan (2nd left) with their Australian Cup winner Hecton Bale – pics supplied by Clint Anderson, Blue Stream Pictures

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 7/03/2018 4:00:43 PM

< Back