ALLEN Ablett gave champion race dog Fernando Bale (Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen Mar ’13) his first group 1 win as a sire when recording a determined victory in Friday night’s Group 1 Spion Rose (520m) at Hatrick.
Stepping from box three, Allen Ablett (Fernando Bale x Langi Bale Aug ’15) began well and was able to push up along the inside of his kennel mate and litter brother Dirk Bale through the first turn.
Down the back the white and brindle dog slipped into top gear, drawing clear in the run to the line to win by four and one quarter lengths in a fast 29.88.
Dirk Bale held on for second, giving leading conditioner Craig Roberts the quinella, whilst NZ Cup winner Nature’s Gent (Shakey Jakey x Midnight News Jan ’15) flashed home to grab third.
“It was a great sight to see the two brothers going stride for stride down the back straight,” Roberts told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“When Dirk Bale couldn’t get past him down the back I knew Allen Ablett was the one because he is a strong dog.
“He isn’t sensational early, but he is competitive in the early stages and he puts himself in the race – he seems to be able to manage to put himself into a handy spot and then he does his best work at the end of his races.
“He is the complete racer – he is a real professional, he is great to have around the kennels and he has perfect manners.”
Allen Ablett, which is owned in Australia by Paul and Jan Wheeler, began his career in Victoria before making the journey across to New Zealand in September.
He has shown plenty of ability since day one and has now won 10 of his 16 starts with one second and three thirds, his earnings already sitting above $42,000.
The Wheeler family have enjoyed a successful relationship with Roberts, most notably with star performer Dyna Vikkers (Barcia Bale x Crystin Bale Mar ’13) which won five Group 1 races in NZ.
Roberts, who has 40 dogs in work, says he is thankful to have been given the chance with Allen Ablett and Dirk Bale – along with their brother Avenger Bale.
“I have been training for Paul on and off for close to 20 years,” Roberts said.
“I seem to always have a couple of his dogs. Early in the 2000s he branched out with his breeding and tried to get a few American outcrosses into his line, that resulted in a few lean years on the track for him and naturally that flowed on here too.
“After taking the risk of getting the American blood into his line it is great to see him reaping the rewards in recent years and it’s nice to have some of his smart dogs over here.”
It was a great night out for the Roberts family, with Craig’s son Matt collecting top honours in the Group 2 Dash for Cash (305m) with Hypocritical (Fabregas x Asterix Jan ’15).
The black dog jumped from box eight as the first reserve and was able to avoid trouble when the leader went amiss, racing to the front to defeat Bigtime Stu (Collision x Allegro Lily Apr ’15) by one and one quarter lengths in 17.56.
It was his 15th career victory at start 46 and his first win since resuming from an injury enforced spell earlier this year.
“It was a bit unexpected at 20/1,” Matt Roberts said.
“It was bittersweet too – unfortunately the leader broke down which is not what you want to see, but thankfully [Hypocritical] was able to avoid trouble and get the win.
“He has been a really good dog for me. He started off his career really well, but he has had a couple of injury problems.
“Friday’s race was only his fourth start back from a couple of months off, but he was back to his best fitness wise and he got a bit of luck.”
Matt, who has been training for close to a decade, said it was a special feeling to win a feature race on the same night as his father.
“We’ve quinella’d a few group 1s, but that was the first time we’ve taken out a group race each on a feature night.
“It was quite a nice feeling for me and my old man to both be celebrating a win.”
2017 Group 1 Spion Rose – full results
1st: Allen Ablett (3) – Craig Roberts –
2nd: Dirk Bale (4) – Craig Roberts –
3rd: Nature’s Gent (5) – Angela Turnwald
4th: Bigtime Paddy (6) – Lisa Cole
5th: Thrilling Raider (2) – Karen Walsh
6th: Me Jane (8) – Lisa Cole
7th: Letron James (1) – Craig Roberts
8th: American Warrior (7) – Dave and Jean Fahey
Scratched: Allegro Gun (9), Light ‘em Jax (10)
Margins: 4.3 x 0.1
1st section: 5.02 (8)
2nd section: 18.50 (3)
Run home: 11.38 (3)