FORMER New South Wales sprinter Shallay Pallay (Barcia Bale x Set To Shine Jul ’15) will be aiming to keep his unbeaten New Zealand record intact when he heads to the north-island this weekend to contest the Group 1 Auckland Cup (527m).
Trained by leading trainers Jean and Dave Fahey, Shallay Pallay was a strong winner of his heat on Sunday, railing underneath the leader on the home turn and kicking on strongly to score in 30.50.
It was his fourth win from four starts since making the move to New Zealand, having already won the Group 2 Colin Keen Memorial at Forbury Park during his stint in the land of the long white cloud.
“We were rapt with his win – it was his first look at the track,” Dave Fahey said.
“He probably lost a couple of lengths around the first bend and that was his first run in a month, he’s only had one trial since his last start, so he should improve heading into the final.”
1st Group 1 Auckland Cup heat to Shallay Pallay (Fahey's) in 30.50s. Quistis Bale (Matt Roberts) 2nd pic.twitter.com/cSGbLBq4Pm
— Peter Fenemor (@PeterFenemor) February 25, 2018
During his time in Australia, Shallay Pallay was prepared by Peter and Jodie Lagogiane. For them he made the semi-finals of the Group 1 Maturity Classic and ran fourth in the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic final at Wentworth Park.
Due to a lapse in concentration in the Vic Peters final, connections immediately decided to send Shallay Pallay to NZ to race on the finish on lure. His is now stamping himself as one of the hottest chasers in the country, with his record standing at 10 wins and six placings from 25 starts overall.
Fahey says he cannot fault Shallay Pallay’s tenacity since making the move to his kennels.
“He is a nice dog. He is doing everything right – he is just a real honest sort of dog.
“He is definitely trying and chasing well since he came over here – the finish on lure really seems to suit him.”
The black dog will take on a cracking field in the final including his kennel mate Opawa Timo (Fabregas x Opawa Eye Dec ’14) and star litter mates Avenger Bale (Fernando Bale x Langi Bale Aug ’15), Dirk Bale and Allen Ablett – the latter already a two-time group 1 winner in NZ for Craig Roberts.
Roberts’ son Matt also has a runner in the final in Quistis Bale (Dyna Nalin x Hannie Bale Feb ’15) which finished second in his heat behind Shallay Pallay.
Group 1 Manawatu Cup winner Bigtime Paddy (Kilty Lad x Romberg Lass Aug ’15) will also be hard to beat after coming up with box three, while the field is rounded out by Tom Tee (Fabregas x Mini’s Fantasy May ’15).
If one of Fahey’s duo cross the line first it will give the Balcairn trainer back to back wins in the feature, having won the 2017 final with He’s All Power (Jagger Swagger x Zipping Venus Sep ’14).
Opawa Timo has drawn poorly in box seven for the final, but Fahey is happy with box two for Shallay Pallay in the $87,965 decider – the second richest ‘500’ race on the NZ racing calendar.
“He can jump better than he has been – hopefully he can do that this week,” Fahey said.
“I’d like to see him up towards the lead early. There is a bit of speed in the race and plenty of good dogs in it – so he can’t afford to give them a start.”
The Group 1 Auckland Cup will be run and won this Sunday at Manukau Stadium.
2018 GROUP 1 AUCKLAND CUP BOX DRAW
1 Quistis Bale
2 Shallay Pallay
3 Bigtime Paddy
4 Avenger Bale
5 Allen Ablett
6 Dirk Bale
7 Opawa Timo