FANTA Bale caused an upset on Saturday night when taking out the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows.
All the buzz leading into the race was surrounding dual group 1 winner Lightning Frank (box three) which was sent to the traps as the short-priced favourite.
However, when the lids flew open the black dog missed the kick, with Rob Britton’s Fanta Bale spearing across from box eight, taking up the top spot in the run to the line on the first occasion.
Through the first turn, Fanta Bale clashed with Aston Bolero (box seven) which was trying to rail underneath the pink-rugged star, with both greyhounds losing ground as a result.
Despite finding trouble, both were able to regain their momentum quickly, with Aston Bolero circling Fanta Bale to take the lead, with Aeroplane Bob (box two) stalking the leading duo back in third down the back.
Approaching the home turn it was still Aston Bolero leading the way, but Fanta Bale held her spot on the fence and was able to rail through and assume the front spot.
Once on the bunny, the daughter of David Bale and Ucme Typhoon burst clear, stretching out to score by 2.8 lengths over a fast-finishing Eminent Reality (box one) in a slick 30.01.
Kennel foreman Peter Riley was full of praise for Fanta Bale when speaking with Sky Racing straight after the $250,000-to-the-winner event.
“An awesome effort, the best she has ever jumped from the boxes over the 500 – [she found] a bit of trouble early but she is so strong,” Riley said.
“There were good dogs behind her but she is just showing what class she has really got.
“It just shows you the quality of the dogs in a race like this, it’s one of the best races in Australia so you are going to get the best dogs going around for it – to win it is just an absolute thrill.
“She keeps trying – she tries so hard every time she goes around which is brilliant to see.”
Fanta Bale, already a two-time group 1 winner at The Meadows, has now won 20 of her 29 starts for Britton and owner Paul Wheeler, with her prize money earnings now in excess of $516,000.