If there were any doubts that Xylia Allen was a true champion, they were dismissed on Saturday night as the bonny black bitch stormed home to record an astonishing triumph in the group 1 AGRA National Sprint Championship at The Meadows.
Gaining a start in the race as the AGRA Wild Card runner, Xylia Allen was blessed with box one for the $75,000 to the winner final and used the coveted rails alley to perfection as she dashed away to claim her fourth group victory; her third at group 1 level.
After a moderate beginning, Xylia Allen was outpaced in the run to the first turn by the fancied Tomac Bale, who took up the lead as the field made their way into the back straight. With Kel Greenough’s sizzling speedster Paw Licking parked on her outside, Xylia Allen tried to push through along the rails in search of the bunny however, she was denied a run by the race leader. In a move that showed tremendous field sense, Xylia Allen quickly switched to the outside, slipped into another gear and shot away from her opposition to score an emphatic victory by just under two lengths in a scintillating 29.63 seconds. Tomac Bale was gallant in defeat, running second, whilst the NSW representative, Zulu Zeus, ran a great race to finish third.
Xylia Allen’s legendary trainer, Graeme Bate, was elated with the win of his special bitch, commending her racing style and how she puts herself into the race at the right time.
“I was very impressed with her genuine brains and her ability to work out the race and where to move as she was going around”, Bate said.
“It was her best win at The Meadows, it has been a track where she has had trouble”.
After finishing fourth in the state qualifier the week prior behind Tomac Bale, Bate was confident that she could produce her best on final night. Down back straight, it became obvious that the 31 kilogram powerhouse was the one to beat.
“I was very confident (before the race)”, Bate reflected.
“Up the back when she hooked to the outside was when I thought she had a good shot”.
Xylia Allen now boasts the record of 38 starts on the track from which she has managed 17 wins and 12 minors.
As mentioned, it was the fourth group win for the daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale who claimed her first group trophy in February this year, when annihilating her opposition in the group 2 Launceston Cup. Xylia Allen continued to race competitively in group company over the following months, before her defining moment came in the group 1 Sapphire Crown in May, where she defeated flying NSW bitch, Punch One Out, in a brilliant 29.51 seconds at Sandown.
Xylia Allen then lined up for a campaign in NSW, where she spearheaded a talented Bate-trained team that was targeting the group 1 Peter Mosman Classic at Wentworth Park. After running third at the Ultimo circuit in the group 3 Ladies Bracelet just over a month prior, Xylia Allen transformed into a different bitch, pinging straight to the front of the field from box two to claim the Classic by one and three quarter lengths in a sizzling 29.47 seconds.
Since triumphing in the Peter Mosman, Xylia Allen had raced without luck in the group 1 Winter Carnival Cup at Albion Park, whilst she also contested the group 1 Maturity Classic series at The Meadows. Her success on Saturday proved that she is back to her brilliant best.
With three dazzling wins at the highest level to her name at such a young age, Xylia Allen now looks set to enjoy a successful racing season in the near future. Bate, who has already compared her to his previous champions Kantarn Bale and Lansley Bale, rates her as one of the best sprinters currently racing in Australia.
“Of the three dogs in the Greyhound Of The Year (Miata, Xylia Allen and Destini Fireball) she was the only sprinter so she would have to be up there”, Bate commented.
“She has already earned $360,000. To do that at 28 months is a pretty good effort. I am very excited about her future and I am hoping she can keep going”.
Although alluding to the fact that her future career may entail races over the staying trip, Bate is holding off whilst she is racing so dominantly over the sprint.
“I wouldn’t step her up at the moment with the way that she is racing. Perhaps if she was getting into trouble or being knocked around but she is racing well”, Bate said.
Xylia Allen’s next mission will be the group 3 Coffex Coffee Oaks at Angle Park with the heats to be run on Thursday 5th September before the $25,000 final the following week. After that, it will be a busy few months with major Victorian races including the group 1 Topgun and the group 1 Melbourne Cup.
“I have always loved the Melbourne Cup, it is one of my signature races and I think I have a fair dinkum chance in it this year. She is my number one greyhound”, Bate said.
Saturday was the pinnacle night of a great weekend for Graeme Bate who was named Trainer Of The Year at the AGRA awards night on Friday. “It was a bit of a shock”, Bate admitted.
“I didn’t really expect it because I thought a few of the other trainers would be in front of me”.
“I thought I was just going along for Xylia Allen”.
Xylia Allen was also nominated for AGRA Greyhound Of The Year however, she was pipped at the post by the mighty Miata who took out the top honour for the second year in a row. Whilst she may not have taken out the big one, Xylia Allen still had her moment in the spotlight when she took out the Run Of The Year for her phenomenal performance to take out the group 1 Sapphire Crown.