Londonderry chaser Tarks Royale will be aiming to claim his first victory in Group Company this Monday when he lines up in the $25,000 Ranvet Gold Cup. The Group Three feature is one of the main highlights of the racing calendar at the Bulli track with some serious canines competing in the lucrative feature. Trained by 29 year old Kristy Sultana, Tarks Royale looks to be an ominous dark horse in the event with just three runs back from a four month spell after finishing down the track in a heat of the Group Two Gosford Gold Cup in December last year.
Since returning to the racetrack the two and a half year old son of Primo Uno and Skrat hasn’t put a paw wrong collecting all three starts in emphatic fashion. At his first run back at Bulli Tarks Royale began moderately before showing an enormous turn of foot to quickly round up the field and hold off the fast finishing Incumbent by half a head on the line in a slick 26.38 seconds. At his second start back on the one turn at Maitland the 33 kilogram speedster defeated the highly talented Johnny Fire by two and a half lengths and in the process clocked 25.28 seconds for the 450 metre distance.
His performance in the heat last week was equally impressive from out wide in box eight. After a quick getaway, the black chaser then found himself caught out wide as the field mustered pace but showed plenty of tenacity to get into the top spot around the first turn. From there Tarks Royale stretched out beautifully to kick clear from his opposition to score a gallant triumph in a nippy 26.41 seconds.
“We always knew he had plenty of ability but he went really well last week and we are very happy with the run”, said a proud Sultana.
Tarks Royale started his career racing in the states north racing around Lismore, Grafton and Albion Park in Queensland before a brief stint in Victoria. Sultana explains how she came to train the young star on the rise.
“He was being trained in Queensland but then the previous owner decided he wanted someone in Sydney to train him. The previous owner then decided he wanted to sell him and we approached one of our owners (George Kairouz) to buy him which he did”.
The decision to buy and train the speedy dog could turn into a masterstroke for Kairouz and Sultana respectively this week if Tarks Royale is able to salute in the $25,000 final. Unlike in his heat where he lined up from box eight, this week Tarks Royale moves in off the outside to box four, which although is not ideal he boasts a strong record with two wins from three starts from the blue.
The talented youngster has also been showing a tremendous improvement in the early part of his races recently, a trait which Sultana believes should bring him into contention for the prize.
“It all depends on how he begins. If he jumps then he has every chance of taking it out but if he misses the kick then it will be a completely different story but he has been beginning well so that helps”.
Tarks Royale will not be able to afford to give his opposition any start in the event with one of the best fields ever seen for the Cup lining up for the 2013 running. Mark Azzopardi has three runners engaged in the feature with quality sprinter Transcend Time afforded the luxury of the rails alley whilst dual derby winner Jagger Swagger will line up from box six and former Victorian Voltage Peak will start wearing pink. Also with a strong hand in the race is the on fire Frank Hurst kennels will litter brothers Zulu Zeus(box two) and Zulu Zircon(box seven) not without their chance.
Regardless of this, Tarks Royale is certainly capable, with Sultana putting him up there with some of the best she has trained, “We have had some good dogs but he is definitely up there as one of the best we have had”.
The Sultana’s are no strangers to fast dogs with Kristy the daughter of Sam and Jenny Sultana who are integral members of the greyhound racing community. Amongst a copious amount of classy dogs, Sam in recent years is best known for training the mighty Mandagery Man who won the 2007 Group Two West Australian Derby at Cannington, 2008 Group Two Richmond Derby and the 2008 Group Three Golden Easter Egg Consolation at Wentworth Park. These wins were just the highlights of a sensational career where the son of Token Prince and Eriskay made thirteen group finals. Since his racetrack days Mandagery Man has stood at stud and has been very much an underrated sire throwing plenty of quality pups from limited chances in the breeding barn.
In her career Kristy along with her sister Michelle has won the GRNSW Young Person of the Year award and has produced some top quality competitors in her ten years as a trainer. Most notable were litter sisters Odessa Shiraz and Supreme Odessa (Bombastic Shiraz x Viva Odessa) with Odessa Shiraz a Wentworth Park specialist who won five races over the Glebe 520 metres and was competitive in numerous group race finals for her entire career and Front Index who made the final of the Group Three Bulli Gold Plate in 2008 with the event taken out by the freakish Batrim Bale.
Kristy also has a strong kennel at present with recent Wentworth Park placegetters Hidden Danger, Tricky Business and Sydenham Pearl just three individuals within her quality team. Kristy who works full time also acknowledges the roll that her parents play in travelling and ensuring the dogs get to the track.
With the illustrious Sultana family background it should be no surprise to anyone if Kristy, can get her charge across the line in first position on Monday night. At what is a family effort it would definitely make all the hard work and travelling worth it if Tarks Royale snares the prize and takes the Cup back home to Londonderry.