Calculated Risk and Spread The Load victorious in Southland Group 2 races

Calculated Risk won the Group 2 Far South Challenge on Tuesday for Ashley Bradshaw. Photo credit: Kim Robbie.

A pair of emphatic victories by Calculated Risk and Spread The Load was witnessed on Tuesday, with both landing their respective strong pace-making wins in the two Group 2 races held at Ascot Park.

Returning from retirement and being on the GRNZ Great Mates Rehoming Programme list, to winning a Group 2 457m race is the truly remarkable story about the $20,000 Far South Challenge winner Calculated Risk.

Firstly, let’s look at the race after last month’s three 457m heats resulted in a very even field being assembled for the Group 2 event.

Calculated Risk pushed forward after hopping away from the eight-trap and he raced clear, with the majority of the field getting involved in a degree of jostling over the early stages of the 457m event.

He rounded the big, sweeping Ascot Park turn holding a significant margin over his rivals, and it was a margin that the others were never going to close, as seen by the comfortable seven-length margin he held when the finish line was reached. Calculated Risk completed his task in 25.79.  

The vastly experienced chaser Carlos Jewel pressed on resolutely for his bold second placing for Craig Roberts, while his son Matt produced Silky Adobe to kick on for his third placing, just a head further back.

It was the 10th occasion that Calculated Risk carried the pink racing vest, having placed in just one of those previous races.   

The son of Eminent Reality and Mischief Managed has been an ultra-consistent greyhound for her owners Bradshaw and Pete Seque.

Ashley, who was the December 2022 GRNZ Board Award winner, informs us, “I’m definitely in total shock. We certainly didn’t expect Sarge (kennel name) to win the race. I was overcome with heaps of emotion, as he’s such a lovely, laid-back greyhound.

“I watched the race on my phone and sort of missed the start of the race. When I saw him so far in front, I was stunned. He likes clear racing room, relying on early pace, so he certainly got that part right.

“For Sarge to win the race by such a large margin was amazing. He is just such a terrific greyhound,” expressed Bradshaw who first got involved working with greyhounds 17 years ago, when as a 13-year-old schoolgirl, she helped out in the Garry Cleeve kennels.

Ashley takes us back to when Calculated Risk was ‘retired’.

“He had some injuries issues last year, so we retired him and put him on the rehoming waiting list. While waiting, we were letting him free gallop and he was working himself so good, that we thought we will give him another go (racing).

“We took him of the list, then aimed him towards the New Zealand Cup meeting. Sarge made the Cup semifinal round, then he came out and won on New Zealand Cup night (C5 520m feature). You don’t get many shots at a Cup, and yes, overall, bringing him back to racing definitely paid off for us.

“Sarge is such a great dog, amazing and such an easy, laid-back greyhound to handle. He just cruises along,” enthused Bradshaw, who enjoyed a massively successful afternoon in Invercargill with her New Zealand-bred racing team, training three premier race winners, plus posting a pair of second placings.

“Winning races like yesterday’s is a huge boost for our kennels,” said Bradshaw.

And now, a trip to Auckland has been penciled in as Bradshaw explains.

“We are looking at taking him up there for the Auckland Cup. He knows the track, and he races good up there (winner of the 527m 2022 NZ Sires Produce Stakes at Group 2 level), although it is such a big mission.”

The dual Group 2 winner Calculated Risk has now raced on 85 occasions, winning 17 of them. He has placed in another 30 races and has now boosted his career stake earnings up to $87,699.


Galway Cup

Spread The Load led throughout in the Group 2 Galway Cup. Photo credit: Kim Robbie.

Spread The Load has added to the pool of competitive stayers that abounds throughout the country. It was a depleted field of stayers who arrived at the Ascot Park 732m starting traps for their Group 2 $20,000 Galway Cup assignment.

The Dave and Jean Fahey-prepared stayer bounded away quickly from the four-trap to lead her three rivals to the first mark in 24 seconds even. It was a race lead that she was never going to hand-up, arriving at the judge when holding a clear three-length margin, clocking 43.40.

The New Zealand Stayers Cup winner Grande Vue Ace was gallant in the manner that she gamely chased after the freewheeling pacemaker to secure the runner’s-up prize for her conditioner Bob Pringle.

Dan Roberts presented his proven stayer Opawa Louise to claim the third placing a further length behind, while the winner’s kennelmate Opawa Gina arrived home another 2.75 lengths astern.

Spread The Load has now raced three times since this daughter of Shima Shine and Saldana crossed the Tasman, emphatically winning first-up in an Addington C1 520m event, followed by a strong-finishing second to Opawa Gina over 645m at the same venue.

She is raced by Joe Lannutti, who when managing the Punters HQ syndicate, successfully raced numerous quality greyhounds, mainly from the Fahey kennels.

The Punters HQ syndicate is now known as Greyhounds HQ and it was under that banner that they successfully purchased the racing slot held by the star Kiwi-bred and owned Postman Pat in the recent A$1.65 million The Phoenix race. He finished a gallant second in the rich 525m event held at Melbourne’s The Meadows track.

“Yes, we were very happy with her race. I was pleased when she led early and knew then that she will be hard to catch. I feel there is likely a wee bit of improvement within her after yesterday,” suggested Dave Fahey about the 123rd Group race winner that the couple has now trained.

He is also grateful to be training greyhounds for Lannutti again, saying, “Joe has always been a great supporter of our kennels and New Zealand greyhound racing. He said that Spread The Load will be suited to New Zealand racing.

“Joe also sent over Palawa Queen with Spread The Load and we are pleased about her progress,” he said about the first-up Addington 520m winner.

Fahey also advised that he’ll make a decision early next week if he will travel north for the looming Auckland Cup meeting. If he does so, then Spread The Load, who is the winner of five of her 19 races and $28,198 in stake earnings, will be aimed at the 28 January $15,000 Auckland Stayers Cup 779m feature.

And Spread the Load will certainly add to the growing pool of talented stayers who are currently stylishly displaying their staying talents!


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 11 January 2024

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