Dalisha Bale causes huge upset in New Zealand Cup

Pictured: Dalisha Bale defied her $41.60 quote in winning the Group 1 Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand Cup. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.


Craig Roberts had three runners in last Thursday’s Group 1 Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand Cup, but few predicted it would be Dalisha Bale who would deliver the goods for the Christchurch trainer.

Defending champion Rock On John found the early lead in the $100,000 feature, while the heavily supported Leonard Bale settled handy, before unfortunately suffering a career-ending injury mid-race. Dalisha Bale, meanwhile, was poised to strike, and she proved too strong in the home straight, beating home Rock On John and the enormously unlucky Opawa Superstar in third.

Despite her $41.60 dividend, her trainer thought prior to the race she could run in the money.

“I thought she was the strongest in the field, and there was no reason she couldn’t get in the money if she got a good sit early, and that’s what happened,” said Roberts.

“I’m bloody rapt, and I’m rapt for the Wheelers as well – it was really special for them to get the win, too.

“All of my family and staff do an amazing job – Ange, my partner, her daughter Leaha, Dan (Roberts) and Tayla (Duley).”

While Leonard Bale won’t race again, the dual Group 1 winner and firm kennel favourite now has a place on Roberts’ couch.

“He’s fine – he will be good as gold,” says Roberts. “He’s retired to the couch now!”

Pictured: Uthor Bale provided the Craig Roberts kennel with a second Group 1 winner for the night. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.


Roberts’ success didn’t end there on Thursday night. Later in the programme, Uthor Bale was dominant in winning the Group 1 Camside Stud New Zealand Stayers Cup. He took the lead with a lap to go, and won the 732m marathon by over fourth lengths, with Claws In Leo finishing second, and then a gap back to Goldstar Truman in third.

“I was rapt with him,” enthuses Roberts. “I was really surprised by how easily he gathered up Big Time Harley when they went past the winning post the first time.

“I sort of knew that once he hit the front like that and the field was a bit spread out, there was no way they were going to beat him.

“The only problem is, he’s not getting any younger – he’s over four years old now!”

Pictured: Bigtime Cooper chalked up win number 50 in winning the Group 1 The Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Galaxy. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.


The other Group 1 on the night was The Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Galaxy, where the Lisa Cole-trained trio dominated the market. The late support came for Bigtime Cooper off Box 1, and the favourite duly delivered for punters in style, beating home Violet Lu and Typhoon Tim in 17.05.

Bigtime Cooper, who won the Group 1 Wanganui Cup back in 2019, turned four in August but is showing no signs of slowing down.

Thursday night’s feature win brought up win number 50 at start number 95 for the son of Spring Gun and Night Pearl, and he has now amassed $168,372 in prizemoney.


By Liz Whelan



Posted on 17 November 2021

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