La Rochelle and Quincy Bale deliver the goods in Addington features

Craig Roberts had three runners in Thursday night’s Group 2 Suck It Up Ltd 2021 South Island Championship at Addington, but it was his least fancied in the event, $23 shot Quincy Bale, who caused a huge upset to take out the $15,000 feature.

The son of Dyna Double One was second reserve for the event, but came into Box 8 after there were two scratchings in the race.

Short-priced favourite It’s A Blaze missed away off Box 7 and then encountered early trouble. Meanwhile, Leonard Bale jumped to the lead off Box 6, and his kennelmate, Quincy Bale, was able to track him across early.

Leonard Bale led most of the way, but Quincy Bale came with a strong finish along the inside late to score by 1.7 lengths on the line in BON 30.32. Leonard Bale held on for second, to make it a Roberts-trained quinella, and Opawa Deal finished in third for Jean and Dave Fahey.

“It was a wee bit of a surprise, but not too big a surprise, because he can run, that dog!” says Craig Roberts.

“Quincy Bale had a reasonably serious injury so it’s taken a while for him to get back to his old self. The race panned out well, he followed Leonard Bale. Leonard isn’t seeing it out as good as he used to, but that’s more because he’s lacking racing with all of the interruptions lately.

“Leonard still went really good and his first and second sectionals are still sensational, but when Quincy got camped behind him, he was always going to run him down.

“It’s always a relief going around the first bend one-two, and then you just hope like hell they don’t take each other out, which can happen!”

Roberts is hopeful that both Leonard Bale and Quincy Bale will qualify for the GRNZ Nationals NZ Middle Distance Final at Addington on Thursday night.

To cap off his weekend, Roberts and partner Angela Washington’s horse Safe Zone won at Addington harness on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been a great week, to be fair!” laughs Roberts.

Quincy Bale, who finished fourth in the 2020 New Zealand Cup, has now had 10 wins from 36 starts and has won just shy of $40,000 in prizemoney.

The other feature of the evening was the Group 2 The Fitz Sports Bar 2021 Canterbury Futurity worth $30,000. This time, favourite punters rejoiced as $2.10 shot La Rochelle crossed the line first for Jason Dunn.

Box 5 proved to be no hindrance for the talented daughter of Fabregas and Fleur Du Liys, as she jumped straight to the front and led throughout in 30.44. Epic Cruze got very close late, but was blocked at vital stages late in the race, while Fairly Able finished back in third.

“I was confident that she’d run well and she was well within herself, but she’s still on the way back and still nowhere near her top yet,” says Jason Dunn.

“She injured her hip support leading into the Oaks,” he explains. “So she missed that race and a few others, so I’ve just been giving her the time off that she needs, and all was going well, but then racing closed down for a couple of weeks because of the virus, which didn’t help.

“I knew she’d be able to come back though, and I brought her back with this race in mind – thankfully she got the job done.

“She’s not the quickest dog I’ve had, but she’s got to be close to the best race dog I’ve ever had. She just turns up, and she’ll give you everything every time she goes around. She’s always going to try and put herself in the race, and she can beat faster dogs because of the way she asserts herself in her races.”

La Rochelle is no stranger to Group race finals, having previously finished third in the Group 1 New Zealand Breeders Stakes back in February, and fourth in the Group 1 Auckland Cup in March. She has now won 14 races from 22 starts and over $57,000 in prizemoney.

Posted on 08 August 2021

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