Talbingo Bale favourite for Group 1 Waterloo Cup

Talbingo Bale is the favourite for Sunday’s Group 1 Waterloo Cup. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

The field for the Group 1 Waterloo Cup on Sunday afternoon has been finalised, following four heats which took place around the country last week.

Talbingo Bale is currently the $2.50 favourite for the $30,000 final, off the back of his sensational 29.71 heat victory at Addington on Thursday. The Craig Roberts-trained chaser consistently clocks fast times at his home track, and has now won his last five races straight.

On Sunday, he will begin from Box 6.

“That was a really good run,” said Roberts. “He’s come through it good, but he’s just got the usual crap draw in a Group 1 that I normally get. I usually get one decent draw in a Group 1, then about 10 bad ones!” he laughed.

“If he jumps like he has been in his last couple of starts, I still think he’ll lead that field though. He’s going to have to lead.”

Raja Bale is the first reserve for the event, after an eye-catching run for third in Sunday’s heat at Manukau.

“He ran on really good, but he’s just not going as good early as what he should. If he makes the field, it will depend on where he draws. If you’re not a really good beginner, those wide draws are tough.”

Pedro Lee will jump from Box 1 in Sunday’s Group 1 Waterloo Cup. Photo credit: Yvette Bodiam.

The King of Cambridge, Pedro Lee, will jump from Box 1 on Sunday, after a spectacular 11-length romp on Thursday afternoon. The son of Aston Dee Bee and One Cold Foot has won his past seven races at Cambridge over 457m, but a win at Manukau Stadium has so far eluded him.

However, his solo trial on Sunday prior to Race 1 has given his trainer Peter Ferguson some confidence.

“He went somewhere around 30.47 and there didn’t appear to be anything else that trialled close to that,” advised Ferguson.

“He’s drawn Box 1, and with the Fahey dogs to his outside, the Canterbury dogs are used to the hoop arm lure and don’t tend to rail hard, which should help.

“The main thing is that he pulls up sound, anything else is a bonus. His record isn’t great at Auckland, but he’s only really lined up in big races up there. I can’t get him any better, he’s potentially going to get a clear run, and if he does, then we’ll see what happens.”

Finishing second in the Cambridge heat was Wheelhouse, who will don the blue rug on Sunday for Sam Lozell.

Lisa Cole has two finalists in the race, with Mustang Charlie and Allegro Mars quinellaing the Palmerston North heat. The former is a Group 2 winner at Manawatu Raceway, while the latter has clocked some very fast times around the same track.

However, kennel representative Brendon Cole acknowledges that their greyhounds are likely to find it harder on the two-turn track of Manukau Stadium.

“They’ve both come through the race good,” said Cole.

“Mustang Charlie had a box-to-box trial on Sunday at Auckland, since he’d never been there before. He went well, according to Ella (Cole, daughter of Lisa and Brendon).

“So, he’s at least had a look at the track now, and he had a run at Addington a few weeks ago. I think that the two looks at similar tracks in reasonably close succession will help him, but he’ll need to do everything right and he won’t have that big long straight to try and accelerate through.

“Allegro Mars is going to be totally outclassed in this race. He’s a nice dog, but he hasn’t been to Auckland and I was very surprised that he qualified ahead of a couple of our other dogs.”

Cole added that a number of their other runners on the programme are likely to show improvement after racing at Manukau last week.

Uno Me Now has provided AJ Christiansen with his first Group 1 finalist. Photo supplied by the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club.

In Sunday’s heat at Manukau, Uno Me Now led from start to finish off Box 1 in 30.86, providing trainer AJ Christiansen with his first ever finalist in a Group 1 race.

“We’re just doing backflips, being in the final,” enthused Christiansen. “We just enjoy every moment of it. This is something we planned out with her and she’s earnt her spot in the final.

“She’s come through the heat better than she went into it. She’s arrogant, cocky, a bit of a typical diva – she can be quite difficult! She has plenty of attitude.

“She’s really well and happy. There’s some serious horsepower in the race, and a lot will depend on the first corner, as it always does at Auckland. She loves the two-turn track, it suits her style. If she pings again, she’ll run along and do her job.

“Craig’s dog (Talbingo Bale) is very smart though. If he gets a clear run, you’ll need a tow rope to keep up with him!”

Milky Tea finished three lengths astern of Uno Me Now, giving Jean and Dave Fahey two contenders for the final, with Opawa Wayne also qualifying at Addington.

The kennelmates are drawn alongside each other, with Milky Tea in Box 2, and the Auckland Cup runner-up, Opawa Wayne, in Box 3.

“It was a pretty hectic trip up to Auckland,” said co-trainer Dave Fahey.

“Both dogs seem well. I won’t do much with them this week, just run them a couple of times. They’re both pretty fit and ready to go.”

Fahey suggested that it would have been slightly better had his pair drawn the other way around, but “it could be worse”.

“Milky Tea can run out a wee bit. They can both make a good beginning occasionally, so hopefully they don’t take each other out.”

While the Faheys have won over 100 Group races, the Waterloo Cup has escaped them thus far. On Sunday, their staff members Mark Lin and Katie Wyllie will drive the greyhounds to Auckland.

“We’ve had a lot of seconds in the race, maybe six or seven,” said Fahey. “Maybe they’ll win it without me there this time!”

By Liz Whelan


$30,000 Group 1 Waterloo Cup – Race 7 @ 3:04pm

  1. Pedro Lee - Peter Ferguson
  2. Milky Tea - Jean & Dave Fahey
  3. Opawa Wayne - Jean & Dave Fahey
  4. Wheelhouse - Sam Lozell
  5. Mustang Charlie - Lisa Cole
  6. Talbingo Bale - Craig Roberts
  7. Allegro Mars - Lisa Cole
  8. Uno Me Now - AJ Christiansen
  9. Raja Bale - Craig Roberts
  10. Chase Me Down - Peter Ferguson

Posted on 07 June 2022

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