Talbingo Bale dominates South Island Champs

Talbingo Bale asserted his dominance in the Group 1 Rose & Thistle South Island Champs. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

Talbingo Bale justified his short-price favouritism in the last Group 1 race of the season, when he romped to a 29.96 victory in the Group 1 Rose & Thistle South Island Champs at Addington on Thursday night.

The son of David Bale and Dyna Zesty began brilliantly off Box 8, and careered away to win by five and a quarter lengths on the line, ahead of the fast-finishing Epic Cruze and Oberon Bale.

“He’s just a freak of a dog,” said trainer Craig Roberts.

“It’s still too early to say he’s the best dog I’ve ever had – he hasn’t got any track records yet – but as far as manners go and what he can do on the track, I would call him the complete package ahead of any dog I’ve ever had.

“He’s the perfect race dog.”

Talbingo Bale’s stakes earnings now stands at $110,255 and his record at Addington is simply outstanding; he’s had 14 raceday starts on the track for 12 wins, and 11 of those have been sub-30 second victories.

“I used to think Dyna Dave’s record was pretty good because he did a few sub-30 seconds, but it took him a lot of starts to do that. This fella’s doing it in no time at all!

“At this stage, I definitely have plans to get some straws off Talbingo Bale. I’d be stupid not to! He’s like a robot; you turn him on, put him in the boxes, and away he goes.

“It would be a bloody shame if he didn’t qualify for the Nationals (New Zealand heat at Addington on 11 August, final at Wentworth Park in Sydney on 27 August). I’d be disappointed if I can’t get him to qualify to go to Australia.”

Opawa Gina led home a Fahey-trained first-four in the Group 2 Suck It Up Ltd Canterbury Futurity. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

The other feature of the night was the Group 2 Suck It Up Ltd Canterbury Futurity, where it was a Jean and Dave Fahey-trained first-four. Opawa Superstar assumed control of the race early off Box 4, but in a surprising twist, the Auckland Cup winner was unable to stave off the late challenge of his kennelmate, Opawa Gina.

Opawa Gina paid $18.20 on the tote, and Thursday’s victory marked her eighth win from 31 starts.

“It was a wee bit of a surprise that she won, but she’s actually got the fastest winning time of those dogs of mine,” said co-trainer Dave Fahey.

“A few months ago, she jumped straight to the front one day and went 29.76 here. She’s definitely got ability and she’s so honest.

“Superstar got buffeted early and he’s not as strong as he was at the moment. But hopefully we can see what he can do after a couple more runs.”

Earlier in the evening, Know Keeper returned to winning form in the $20,000 Ray Adcock Memorial Distance over 732m. The $1.20 favourite quickly found the early lead, and from there, he never looked in doubt, recording a commanding four and a quarter-length victory over Centurion, who stuck on gamely for second ahead of Know Account in third.

The Garry Cleeve-trained staying sensation will now target the New Zealand Nationals Distance heat on 11 August at Addington, with the Nationals Final taking place at Wentworth Park on 27 August. 

Tony Hart had the two favourites in the $15,000 Springston Hotel Canterbury Futurity Sprint, in Victoria Lu and Master Porthos. Victoria Lu was last away off Box 1, whereas Master Porthos made a fast beginning off Box 7, and he ran away to score in 17.14 over Goldstar Larson and Chatty Mavis.

Master Porthos, who was a finalist in this year’s Group 1 Railway Sprint and Group 1 New Zealand Derby, has now won 18 races from 30 starts and has accrued $57,508 in prizemoney.   

By Liz Whelan

Posted on 19 July 2022

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