Another Waikato Classic Victory for the Thrilling Kennels

The $21,000 Farmlands CopRice Waikato Classic is the traditional New Year feature for the Waikato GRC. It is also turning into a tradition that local conditioner Karen Walsh mentors the winner of this Group 2 event. It was business as usual for the Tirau trainer when she produced Thrilling Talk to emphatically win the 457m race. For good measure she also provided the runner up Thrilling Jo.

Pictured: Thrilling Talk following his impressive Waikato Classic victory

Thrilling Talk was one of six winners that Walsh provided from the “Thrilling” kennels during the meeting which are operated by Gary and Linda Harding who were on course to savior the outstanding success they and their trainer enjoyed.

Thrilling Talk became the sixth greyhound that Karen Walsh has trained to victory on her local track in this event for Gary Harding following the previous wins landed by Thrilling Faith (2005), Thrilling Moe (2006), Thrilling Zoom (2014), Mi Tensile (2016) and Thrilling Boris (2017).

It was memorable victory in the 2014 edition with Thrilling Georga and Thrilling Style occupying the minor sides of the podium for the team. That meeting was held on New Year’s Day and the Harding’s weren’t on course on that occasion. They had an excellent reason as only hours earlier Gary Harding’s classy mare Bounding won the Group 1 Railway Sprint at the Ellerslie race course.

On Thursday Thrilling Talk was sent to the Cambridge 457m traps as the warm $1.60 favourite on the back of his stylish 25.42s heat win. He jumped away handily from the two trap and despite copping a couple of early whacks he quickly powered up into his work.

Thrilling Talk then turned the race into a procession clearing out to emphatically win the event by a 5.25 length margin, clocking a smart 25.43s for his assignment. His win also provided Gary Harding with the Breeders’ bonus payment attached to this Group 2 race with Thrilling Talk, who is a son of Fabregas and Thrilling Ella, being the first Kiwi bred greyhound to finish.

Thrilling Talk’s litter sister Thrilling Jo was real bold when she chased after her freewheeling brother and she was rewarded with her Group 2 second placing. It was a huge effort that Trojan Hoarse produced when he gamely stuck to his task to claim the third placing another four lengths behind for his trainer Lisa Cole, who also enjoyed a hugely successful Hatrick meeting the previous evening when she trained nine of the winners on the 12 race card. Both of the minor place getters had to overcome early jostling to secure their placings. Thrilling Amigo was the next to arrive for Walsh.

Thrilling Talk Thrilling Jo Trojan Hoarse
Farmlands CopRice Waikato Classic winner Thrilling Talk with his trainer Karen Walsh who is flanked by Linda Harding and Craig Symes representing race sponsor Farmlands; his litter sister Thrilling Jo was the runner up; Trojan Hoarse was super when he finished third

“It was a fantastic day for Gary and Linda – I still can’t really believe it happened,” advised Walsh. “Thrilling Talk is still a very puppyish greyhound however he’s having a real blast while learning about the racing game. I reckon he has just about worked out what it is all about (racing).

“Talk took a bit of an early hit from the one dog, but he gave it back, then he really stretched out nicely. He was very determined and I’m excited about his future. I thought Jo was exceptionally brave as she was dragged (from behind), so for her to recover for her second was a top effort. Our wins is also credit to Taylor (Thornton) who has recently come back to work in the kennels.

She then extended her gratitude to the Harding’s. “I’m so pleased for Gary and Linda as they have fully supported me ever since I arrive at Tirau. They continue to breed quality greyhounds and it’s a real pleasure in being able to train them,” said Walsh, who added with a chuckle, “It will be 15 years in October since I’ve been here – I reckon I’ll deserve a gold watch by then!”

Gary Harding is equally appreciative of Karen Walsh’s training skills saying, “Karen does a tremendous job training our greyhounds. She is like family to us and her attitude and work ethic is very professional. We are very lucky to have a trainer so skilled and loyal to us. I also have to acknowledge others who has worked for us – it’s a real team effort back at home.”

He then added. “Breeding greyhounds like Thrilling Talk and Thrilling Jo, then watching grow up, learn about racing and produce results like this (Waikato Classic) is immensely satisfying. For various reasons Linda and I haven’t been at the (greyhound) races for a while and I’m impressed with the atmosphere here today with people within the industry working in together. It’s a positive attitude out there today and that’s a real credit to the industry.”

Walsh advises that Thrilling Talk is now likely to be aimed towards the Hatrick Classic (520m heats January 18). There’s no doubt he will enter that series as the warm favourite as he seeks to add to his rapidly growing $33,349 stakes tally. He own a phenomenal winning strike rate (just like his trainer) having won 13 of his 15 race day appearances too date.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 7/01/2019 3:41:19 PM

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