STAR litter mates Allen Ablett (Fernando Bale x Langi Bale Aug ’15) and Dirk Bale will be aiming to run their second group 1 quinella when they head to Hatrick this Friday night for the Hatrick Classic (520m).
Trained by leading mentor Craig Roberts, the duo both won their heats of the NZ$27,465 series last week, Dirk Bale the quickest of the pair when stopping the clock in 29.91.
The blue dog jumped well and mustered pace from box one, hitting the front and bolting clear to win by two and two quarter lengths over Ridin’ Shotgun (Shakey Jakey x Midnight News Jan ’15).
Roberts said he was pleasantly surprised by Dirk Bale’s stylish win – the 10th success of his career at start 18.
“He is not as strong as Allen Ablett, but I was really impressed with how he stuck on in his heat especially considering he went into the race a little bit on the fresh side,” Roberts told Australian Racing Greyhound.
The speedy Dirk Bale often avoids the accolades of his brother Allen Ablett which defeated him in December in the Group 1 Spion Rose final at Hatrick.
A spitting image of his champion sire Fernando Bale, Allen Ablett has won 13 of his 20 starts for Roberts and his Australian-based owner, Paul Wheeler.
Roberts expects improvement from Allen Ablett in the final after he was only fairly away from box five in his heat, overcoming interference before drawing clear to win by one and one quarter lengths in 30.05.
“His overall time and run home were the slowest of the heats, but if you watch the race he lost his momentum and he probably would have run 29.90 odd if that didn’t happen,” Roberts explained.
“He went to go for a run on the rails off the back, but the other dog cut back down on him which cost him a few lengths and he had to get going again after that.
“All things considered I was happy with the run and I definitely think he is capable of improvement heading into the final.”
It won’t be an easy assignment for the brothers with their opposition including the classy Bigtime Paddy (Kilty Lad x Romberg Lass Aug ’15) which won his heat in a sizzling 29.86.
Roberts says his runners’ chances will rely heavily on the box draw, but says either of his boys can win with the right luck in running.
“Both boys have had a pretty easy time since the Spion Rose so they should both strip fitter heading into the final.
“Allen Ablett is probably more of the complete race dog over 500, but you can never discount Dirk Bale because he is a good chaser and he is very reliable out of the boxes.
“Obviously a lot of it will come down to the draw. Dirk Bale is the type of dog which probably has enough speed to overcome any box, but if Allen Ablett were to draw well I’d have to lean towards him.
“But they are both the real deal – they are ultimate professionals.”
The Group 1 Hatrick Classic will be run and won this Friday night.