He’s All Go justifies short-price favouritism with brilliant New Zealand Derby win

Pictured: He’s All Go delivered for Lisa Cole and the White Horse Toaster Syndicate in the New Zealand Derby.

Sublime chasing action was witnessed throughout at Cambridge Raceway during Thursday evening’s New Zealand Derby premier meeting, featuring four Group race finals.

Highlighting the evening was the continued domination displayed by the rising chasing star greyhound He’s All Go, who cut clear from his rivals to effortlessly claim his second Group 1 title in the $50,000 New Zealand Derby. 

The Lisa Cole-prepared son of Aston Dee Bee and Big Time Izzy had to be classy to win the 457m event, as was seen when he asserted his authority over his rivals when approaching the big, sweeping bend.   

Looming into contention at that stage was the Matt Roberts-trained second favourite, Claws In Zorro. Momentarily, it appeared that it was going to be race-on between the two fastest heat winners.

He’s All Go demonstrated his strength when he stylishly extended during the run home, cutting out his final sectional in an impressive 6.75, easing clear for his comfortable 4.25 length victory, clocking a sharp 25.27 for his high-profile largely equine-based owning-White Horse Toaster syndicate.

Claws In Zorro was gallant when claiming the runners-up position, while Goldstar Mostert confirmed his potential for his mentor Riley Evans when finishing three lengths further behind to nail his third placing, a nose in from of the Garry Cleeve-trained Who’s Jealous.

It was the fifth New Zealand Derby training success for the Cole kennels, and Brendon Cole informs us, “The pressure was on us owing to his big group of owners. He’s All Go didn’t flinch, producing a super race.

“He is the fastest greyhound we have bred, and he is the complete overall package, having early pace, plus displaying strength at the back end of his races.

“The publicity we are providing greyhound racing with this dog is invaluable. Look at the podium after the race, scenes like that are all about creating positive images. He’s an exceptional greyhound with exceptional ability.”

And here’s some post-race podium Trackside TV grabs from a couple of He’s All Go, who paid a minuscule $1.10 to win on the tote, many owners. 

“I never thought we would have a New Zealand Derby winner. It’s absolutely fantastic being involved with great people,” said Paul Claridge, syndicate manager.

“This is a special occasion and it’s great to be here with a great bunch of people,” said former top jockey and Trackside presenter Leith Innes.

“It’s bloody easy, this game!” laughed thoroughbred trainer Shaun Phelan.

Cole advised that He’s All Go is likely to be next sighted at Manawatu Raceway for the $20,000 Golden Chase (March 28), followed by the April 5 Group 1 $30,000 Hatrick Classic 520m heats.

It was the Palmerston North-based Paul Claridge who put together the owning syndicate, involving numerous thoroughbred and harness industry participants.  We spoke to him shortly after the final.

“That was fantastic, very unreal in the way he won the New Zealand Derby. It was a nervous watch, as obviously he didn’t get the best of starts. I relaxed once he got to the lead, and he was in clear racing air.

“I’m just so happy for the syndicate. This greyhound has huge potential – he has untapped ability. For us collectively, it’s all about the animal and with Brendon and Lisa, we have the perfect combination. We are looking forward to the Golden Chase on our home track.”  

One can only imagine what dizzy heights that He’s All Go can reach, as from just 10 races, he has advanced his career stake earnings up to $60,156 the result of nine wins and one second placing.


$20,000 Teressa McDonald Memorial Cup


Dan Roberts claimed his first Group race winner, when Opawa Corban and Opawa Louise quinellaed the Teressa McDonald Memorial Cup.

Canterbury conditioner Daniel Roberts was understandably ecstatic following this Group 2 747m staying final, when training the race quinella.

Opawa Corban landed in an early midfield position to chase after the pace-setting Opawa Wine and Orson Blonde into the back straight, then he railed underneath this pair to break clear from his rivals when rounding the final turn.

The Opawa Racing-bred son of My Bro Fabio and Opawa Sophie maintained his strong gallop towards judge Tommy Thompson, claiming his deserved black-type win after 42.94 seconds of chasing, by an easy 6.25 length margin for his owner Pete McDermott.

Kennelmate and litter sister Opawa Louise had settled back in the field prior to coming with a barnstorming finish to claim the second placing. Her strong finish saw her hauling back the game Arch Lawrence-trained Orson Blonde by half a length.

“I’m very happy and very relieved, actually bloody rapt with the result. I couldn’t believe I trained the quinella,” enthused Roberts.

He added, “I thought I was in trouble during the early stages. Then, Opawa Corban really got going when racing down the back (straight). He’s a big dog (35.6kg), who has recently grown into himself. Once he put two and a half lengths on them, then yes, I knew he was home. He has been lightly raced and he has plenty left in the tank. He has really come of age.

“Opawa Louise was huge to come from where she was. She ran the trip out on her ear. I guess we’ll head to Wanganui now (Group 1 Wanganui Distance – 755m heats April 5).”

Opawa Corban will return to Canterbury as the winner of six of his races, while adding seven minor placings, earning $33,269 from his 20 raceday outings.

$20,000 Angus Wright Memorial Sprint

Pictured: Levi Bale added another feature win to his tally, when taking out the Angus Wright Memorial Sprint.

Utter strength highlighted this Group 375m sprint, with the current New Zealand Sprinter of the Year Levi Bale completely demolishing his rivals by an ever increasing 6.5 lengths.  

Angus Wright, who was a tireless worker and administrator back in the early days of the Waikato & Districts GRC, certainly would have approved of the sharp 21.10 second sprint that this Craig Roberts-mentored sprinter produced.

Levi Bale burst clear of the pack when entering the turn and from there, it was game over for his rivals, as the Jan Wheeler-owned son of Zambora Brockie and Kenju Bale secured back-to-back victories in this sprint.

It was left to the Tony Hart and Dylan Voyce-trained Pick And Go to lead the balance of the field home, and she held a 3.75 length margin over the Lisa Cole trained Eytukan, who pressed on stoutly for his third placing.

“He was just too strong and too quick for the others. Levi got a bit of an early touch up, but once he balanced up, he was always going to be too powerful for them. He has been a marvel, as it’s hard to win C5 races by margins like that,” said Roberts.

“He’s actually eligible for veteran races at Addington; however, we will take it week by week with him. We are likely to go Wanganui for the dogs sprint feature (305m heats April 5).”    

Levi Bale, the current Group 1 Galaxy Sprint title holder, has now raced on 80 occasions, winning 42 of them, while placing in another 20 races, accumulating $163,020 in stake earnings.

Let’s leave the last words to Roberts: “Levi Bale has been a great old campaigner, who just keeps on keeping on. He’s like fine wine – improving with age!”


$20,000 Lois Henley Memorial Trophy

Big Time Tactics came in off the ballot to win the Gorup 2 Lois Henley Memorial Trophy.

Big Time Tactics secured a race start from off the reserves bench for this Group 2 457m decider, which was raced in the memory of the former national and regional administrator Lois Henley.

It was an opportunity that the Lisa Cole-mentored daughter of Aston Dee Bee and Bigtime Talker seized with all paws, when, after a degree of early on-the-pace jostling, she booted clear to nail her effortless 5.75 length win, recording 26 seconds flat for her owner and breeder Brendon Cole.

Producing an eye-catching finish to secure second was Goldstar Mila for Riley Evans, while another 1.5 lengths behind was the recent NZ Breeders Stake winner Opawa Schofer for Dave and Jean Fahey. 

“Big Time Tactics was phenomenal in the way she won the race. She has to work extremely hard, overcoming early jostling. We are very proud of her.

“This means everything to my family to win this race. Peter and Lois (Henley) kindly looked after my parents when my brother Denis passed away, therefore this result is extremely satisfying,” expressed Brendon Cole.

Big Time Tactics has now graced a racetrack for 46 races, winning 11 of those, while placing in another 18 races, adding up to $56,361 in stake earnings.


Superb Undercard Racing

It was an exceptional evening of greyhound racing on top of the four Group races decided, with the other eight races all providing high class racing action.

Headlining the premier card was the outstanding eight training successes that the nation’s leading conditioner Lisa Cole produced.

Included was the previous New Zealand Derby winner and the current Auckland Cup title holder Blazin’ Master’s victory in the $10,000 South Waikato Cup feature over 457m.

Blazin’ Master wasn’t the quickest into stride, but he quickly powered up to take the initiative, leading to his impressive 25.66 win. He led home his kennelmate Federal Aussie by a 2.25 length margin.

Another feature event was the $9,400 Jack Hannan Memorial Stakes, which was also taken out by a Cole-trained runner, with the second reserve Big Time Axel who led throughout for his 25.82 victory.

It was a rewarding trip north for the Canterbury based Tony Hart and Dylan Voyce kennels, when they presented Master Pablo to win the last race $7,200 Max Mathews Memorial Stakes 457m event in 25.76. 

Space Boy underlined his staying ability, when he stylishly won the $9.400 Clubhouse Cambridge Distance feature over 650m in 38.08 for the Cole kennels.

A local training victory came in the opening event, when the brothers Mark and John Smith produced their in-form sprinter Thrilling Lad to snatch his 21.27 375m dash win.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 15 March 2024

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