He’s All Go and Opawa Schofer deliver in Group 1 features

Pictured: He’s All Go was spectacular in winning the Group 1 Active Electrical New Zealand St Leger. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

He’s All Go certainly is aptly named, as seen by the complete demolition job he did on his rivals in the Group 1 New Zealand St Leger, while Opawa Schofer displayed strength in the manner that she won the Group 1 New Zealand Breeders Stakes during Thursday’s Christchurch GRC hosted premier meeting.


2024 $30,000 Active Electrical New Zealand St Leger

It was game, set and match for this Group 1 final for the male greyhounds when Addington Raceway’s 520m traps lifted.

The white racing vest worn by He’s All Go was sighted blasting clear, establishing a clear margin on his opponents by the time the first turn was reached.

The Lisa Cole-mentored He’s All Go, who started the race as the warm favourite, cut out his first sectional in 5.73, reaching the back mark in a swift 17.47, then bringing home his strong gallop in 12.25 to record his slick 29.72 overall race time. The ease of his victory is confirmed by his 6.5 length winning margin.

Goldstar Mostert was brave when leading the balance of the field home to claim the runner’s-up prize for Riley Evans, while 1.75 lengths further behind, it was the Garry Cleeve-prepared Know Defence who rattled home late from an early rear group position for his third placing.

He’s All Go has advanced his career stake earnings up to $29,413, the result of six wins and one minor placing from just seven races.

“I was rapt to see him begin brilliantly. He’s still learning, as he drifted off slightly on the bends; however, this dog can do it at the front end and back end of his races. He can still find more.

“I’ll say he will be the fastest dog New Zealand has ever seen. He will now go to Cambridge for the New Zealand Derby (March 14),” advised Brendon Cole about the 2.1 year-old son of Aston Dee Bee and Big Time Izzy.

He’s All Go has been syndicated to a number of high profile thoroughbred and harness industry participants. Organising the details has been the long time Manawatu GRC race sponsor Paul Claridge, who watched the race in his local bar.

“What a great experience to be involved in a greyhound like He’s All Go. Yes, I was nervous before the race but once he got around the first turn it was game over. He’s an incredibly fast little dog.

“I’ve had a fantastic response from the really good racing people who I have got involved in the syndicate. This will be brilliant for New Zealand greyhound racing.

“We are buzzing here. We’ve turned the front bar into greyhound racing, while the back bar is for thoroughbred and harness racing,” explained Claridge from his local Palmerston North located White Horse Inn bar.

“You have got to have faith in Colesy (Brendon) and I have enjoyed a great ride since I first got involved with him through All About Space. Her progeny has been flying for us,” added Claridge about the two All About Space litters that the Conspiracy Theory syndicate has been racing, which includes the 2023 Auckland Cup winner Space Boy.


2024 $30,000 Springston Hotel New Zealand Breeders Stakes

Pictured: Opawa Schofer was too strong in the Group 1 Springston Hotel New Zealand Breeders Stakes. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

It was a heady race that the Dave and Jean Fahey-prepared Opawa Schofer delivered, which resulted in her exciting victory in this Group 1 520m event.

Opawa Schofer, who was favoured to win the race, began nicely from the one-trap, taking a handy to-the-pace sit along the rail when racing into the first turn.

It was the Lisa Cole-trained Icy Hope who led the girls around the first turn. She freewheeled her way down to the back mark, reaching it in 17.77 while holding a comfortable looking margin over her opposition.

Opawa Schofer was having none of that, and she steadily closed down the margin when swinging in for the run home. She strongly extended along the rail to ultimately cut back Icy Hope by half a length at the judge, completing her assignment in 30.13.

Icy Hope was gallant in finishing second, 2.25 lengths in front of the winner’s kennelmates Opawa Katrina who ran third and the fourth placed Opawa Susan.

“Opawa Schofer ran a steady race, although I didn’t think she would get Icy Hope going down the back straight. She is very strong and I was relieved when she got up.

“I thought Opawa Katrina went a good race, being a C2 dog and Opawa Susan finished nicely. Overall, it was a great result and a successful night of racing for Robin (Wales), who thoroughly deserves to win races like the NZ Breeders with the quality breeding he does,” confirmed Dave Fahey, who indicated that all three girls are New Zealand Oaks bound (May 10). 

“Yes, Icy Hope went a fantastic race. I guess it was her lack of experience on the track, when going wide on the turns that was costly,” reflected Brendon Cole.

Opawa Schofer is raced by Opawa Racing, headed by Robin Wales. She has been placed into the starting traps 15 times, resulting in eight wins and four minor placings, earning $36,394 in stakes. 

For the Faheys, this was the third consecutive New Zealand Breeders Stakes winner they have mentored, and overall the eighth winner they have trained in this Group 1 race and the fourth time for Opawa Racing.


2024 $15,000 The Homekill Guys Sockburn Cup


Pictured: Opawa Corban was too good in The Homekill Guys Sockburn Cup. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

There are a number of classy staying greyhounds currently racing around the country, and the Dan Roberts-prepared Opawa Corban can be added to that talented list following his freewheeling 43.15 victory in the time hounored 732m Sockburn Cup.

Opawa Corban jumped straight to the race lead, and he was never headed when leading all the way for his Opawa Racing owners. Gamely chasing after the pacemaker throughout was Opawa Gina for Dave and Jean Fahey, finishing 2.75 lengths behind in second, while holding a 1.75 length margin over the third placed Garry Cleeve-trained Know Speed.

Opawa Corban, who is a member of the My Boy Fabio and Opawa Sophie litter, has now raced on 17 occasions, winning $21,911 in stakes, the result of five wins and six minor placings.

It sure was a hugely successful evening of premier racing for Dave and Jean Fahey, training five winners, three of those for Opawa Racing, while Opawa Racing also bred and owned another two winners.

Included in this was the $18.90 upset winner Opawa Kyle, who stylishly led home the Auckland Cup winners Blazin’ Master and Opawa Superstar when clocking 30.03 for his 520m win in the Rose & Thistle C5 feature event.

Earlier on the card, the Faheys produced the exciting stayer Spread The Load to strongly win the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Distance feature over 645m in 38.07.

Tony Hart and Dylan Voyce enjoyed training a pair of winners, bookending the meeting, while Bruce Dann, Riley Evans and Garry Cleeve conditioned a winner each during the enhanced stakes race meeting.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 23 February 2024

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