Federal Infrared and Levi Bale get deserved Group 1 wins

Pictured: Federal Infrared was a deserved winner of the $100,000 Springston Hotel New Zealand Cup. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

Federal Infrared had been the dominant chaser throughout the three-meeting Springston Hotel New Zealand Cup series. She brought that domination into the $100,000 Group 1 final and apart from a slight stumble when exiting from the five-trap, the Lisa Cole-prepared $1.70 favourite gave her army of supporters no cause for concern.

And to sweeten the result, kennelmate Blazin’ Master provided the Cole kennel with the Group 1 quinella, meaning that the connections of both greyhounds will each receive a straw from the 2019 NZ Cup winner Pinny Mack, generously donated by Sean Codlin.

Federal Infrared freewheeled her way through her assignment, completing 5.90 and 17.77 sectionals when cruising to her 30.17 victory for her owning Fairbairn Benjes Partnership.

Chasing her hard throughout was Federal Infrared’s kennelmate Blazin’ Master, who gamely stuck to his task when finishing 1.75 lengths behind her.

Overcoming some initial jostling was the Dave and Jean Fahey-trained Opawa Hugo, who won out in a blanket finish for third placing a further 1.25 lengths behind. In doing so, he secured the Breeder’s Bonus, with the son of Fernando Bale and Opawa Hop being the first NZ bred chaser to finish in the Group 1 final.

For Ella Cole, it was a hugely successful conclusion of a three-week campaign for the kennels during the NZ Cup series, basing herself at Bruce and Ann Dann’s Rakaia training base. She was joined by her sister Georgia and brother Max for the finals evening.

“Having access to Bruce’s facilities made it so much easier for us. We really appreciate Bruce’s support, which has been ongoing over many years,” expressed Brendon Cole.

“That was a really good result for us. Sushi (kennel name) stumbled slightly when leaving the traps, but she quickly picked herself up and booted clear going into the first turn. I was happy when seeing Blazin’ Master chasing her through and I was reasonably confident at that point that nothing else was going to get past them.

“They ran slipstream throughout the race, and it was definitely a very well-deserved win for Federal Infrared. She’s such a tough girl.

“I was pleased for Morgan Benjes, who flew over from Sydney. They are hugely successful breeders of thoroughbreds and greyhounds at their Federal Park location. Their operation is a real family affair and this was their biggest win in greyhound racing, being a Group 1 race,” stated Cole.

Ranging high on Federal Infrared’s radar is the all-time New Zealand stake earning record, held by the Cole mentored 2011 New Zealand Cup winner, Little Mother. She completed her distinguished career with $377,751, hugely aided by 85 career wins.

The New Zealand Cup victory has advanced Federal Infrared’s earnings up to $309,883, the result of 40 race wins.

“It will be a remarkable achievement if Sushi can reach that milestone,” commented Cole about the daughter of Aussie Infrared and Flo Jo Focus.


$30,000 2023 The HomeKill Guys Galaxy Sprint


Pictured: Levi Bale was too good in The Homekill Guys Galaxy Sprint. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

High-class sprinter Levi Bale deservedly secured his first Group 1 title when he emphatically put away his rivals while sprinting to his 2023 The HomeKill Guys Galaxy Sprint victory.

The Craig Roberts-prepared current New Zealand Sprinter of the Year tracked the pacemaker Mint As into the turn when he was presented with a rails racing passage.

Seizing upon the opportunity, the fawn son of Zambora Brockie and Kenju Bale charged through and powerfully cut clear, leaving his rivals in his slipstream to claim his effortless 17.04 win by a comfortable three-length margin.

The northern visitor Mint As was really gallant when he stoutly kicked on to secure the runner-up prize for his conditioners Jared Udy and Denise Cottam. Their locally bred son of Thrilling Boris and Tres Vite was additionally rewarded with the $1,000 Breeder’s Bonus by being the first New Zealand-bred sprinter to finish, therefore completing a rewarding southern campaign.

Extending strongly from the midfield pack to greet the judge a further two lengths behind for his third placing was the Jason Dunn-prepared Opawa Fat 

“Winning the Galaxy was bloody good for Levi. Once he hopped away good and found himself in clear space, I knew he would go underneath the pacemaker and he would be too strong for them.

“Look, he has been an ultra-consistent sprinter, so much so that he’s only missed one sprint stake since he arrived over here. He’s broken the Addington 295m 17 second barrier nine times.

“I’ll take him along quietly as he’s getting on, although, yes he probably go up to Wanganui for the Dash For Cash heats,” suggested Roberts who has now mentored five Galaxy Sprint winners.

The Jan Wheeler-owned Levi Bale’s biggest career win advanced his career stake earnings to a tidy $134,533, the result of 37 wins and 15 minor placings from his 69 raceday outings.  


Premier meeting support races

As always during a premier meeting, high-class support card racing was the order of the evening. Here’s a quick round up of the other nine events.

The meeting opened with the-Sydney Cleeve prepared Great Potential proving to be too strong when he secured his easy 30.50 C2 520m win.

Riley Evans made his way back to the Addington birdcage podium with Goldstar Linda, who led throughout for her easy 17.07 C1/5 feature 295m sprint victory.   

Dave and Jean Fahey secured their premier meeting win with Dembe, who strongly led throughout when claiming his 30.40 win in the C3 520m event.

The first winner for the powerful Lisa Cole kennel during the evening came when the promising youngster Brighton Wave dictated the pace to his rivals when delivering his winning 30.54 gallop in the feature Restricted Age 520m race.

The Craig Roberts-prepared Pryor Bale opened his New Zealand winning account when he was sighted finishing strongly to secure his win in the 645m feature, clocking 38.44.

The second winner during the evening for the Lisa Cole kennels came when Big Time Trade slipped around the outer when freewheeling to his 30.23 win in the C4 520m race.

The evergreen chaser Calculated Risk returned the evening’s quickest 520m time when he prevailed in the C5 520m event clocking 30.11. It was the 16th career win for the Ashley Bradshaw-mentored winner of the 2022 NZ Sires Produce Stakes.

The C5 295m sprint feature saw the northern Jared Udy and Denise Cottam trained Mad Paddy secure a deserved win when he used his strength to deliver his 17.14 victory. 

It was a poignant and entirely appropriate moment when Malcolm Grant produced Diamond Vaper to easily win the last race C4 295 sprint in 17.19. Grant returned to the post-race podium with the Crevyargon Syndicate-owned son of My Redeemer and Cawbourne Leaha, with the win being especially poignant following the recent passing of his of his wife and soulmate Lisa.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 21 November 2023

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