Fanta Bale to contest Australian Cup before staying campaign

LEADING trainer Rob Britton says he will tackle the upcoming Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows before embarking on a staying campaign with his classy bitch Fanta Bale.

The black bitch showed plenty of tenacity to win the Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) on Saturday night, pushing up to assume the lead around the first turn and making every post a winner in a nippy 34.16.

It was her second victory at the highest level, having also won the Group 1 Hume Cup over the same track and trip last October.

Britton told Australian Racing Greyhound he was thrilled with the win and said Fanta Bale is developing into a much stronger proposition.

“It was a really good race and it was definitely pleasing to win it,” Britton said.

“There was a hell of a lot of strength in the race, but I felt it was set up for whoever led.

“Although she didn’t begin that well she was able to burrow underneath them early and get to the front.

“I think she is better dog now than when she was first racing over 600m due to natural maturity.

“I always say to win a group 1 with any dog is great, but to win two is a bonus – you don’t normally do it.”

Fanta Bale is an exceptionally-bred chaser, being by David Bale out of the American import Ucme Typhoon.

The 28.5-kilogram rocket is owned by leading breeder and rearer Paul Wheeler after he struck a pup deal to breed with the Britton-owned dam.

“I purchased her mother from John Hutchinson and Sandy Matheson at their sales in America and we raced her out here with limited success.

“Paul Wheeler was then looking for a couple of American broodbitches when I saw him over there, so I told him to call me when he got back because at the time I wasn’t really interested in breeding.

“The Australian bloodline has been losing its strength over a number of years since the introduction of horse-shoe racing and 450m racing, so get a bit of that strength back in there is really important.

“Paul took her for two litters which turned into three on the condition that I would get them to train.

“She has turned into a pretty good broodbitch and it has worked out very well for both of us.”

Fanta Bale has now won 18 of her 27 starts with an additional six minor placings, with Saturday’s victory taking her earnings above the $256,000 mark.

Britton said it was a tough decision where to head next with Fanta Bale, but eventually he decided to target the heats of the $250,000 Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) in preference over the $100,000 Group 1 Super Stayers (725m) qualifiers next weekend.

“The entries for the Australian Cup closed last week so unfortunately I had to make my mind up then, so I went for the sprint and I was in two minds and I thought about it for a few days.

“In the end I just didn’t know whether she could stay and I would rather know before I put her up against the best in the country.

“The key to her in sprint races is the draw. She is a one pacer and she goes the same speed the whole time which makes me think she would struggle from out wide against the elite dogs.

“But if she happened to get a couple of inside boxes and a bit of luck then I think she is capable of going very well.”

However, Britton says he does plan to tackle staying races in the near future with Fanta Bale.

“A couple from the line have won over 700m, but in general they are better over 600m and the longer trip seems to take it out of them.

“With that being said I definitely plan on having a go with her in the future, I don’t want to rush her but we will probably have a go after the Australian Cup and see what we’ve got.”