Owned in Australia by Paul Wheeler and trained by Craig Roberts, Allen Ablett settled in second position after a fair beginning from box three, setting off in pursuit of leader Bigtime Paddy (Kilty Lad x Romberg Lass Aug ’15) down the back.
Despite closing the gap, Allen Ablett was no sure thing swinging for home – the white and brindle chaser had to dig deep, lunging right on the line to score by a nose in 29.79.
Bigtime Paddy was far from disgraced running second with Quistis Bale (Dyna Nalin x Hannie Bale Feb ’15) – trained by Roberts’ son Matt – filling the trifecta back in third.
“Down the back I thought he was handy enough [to win] because he is a strong dog, but he had me a bit worried turning for home because he took a while to straighten up and get past the other dog,” Roberts told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“The leader was a very smart dog though – [Lisa Cole] thought he was good enough to have a crack in Australia [for the Melbourne Cup] so they obviously have a big opinion of him.
“[Allen Ablett] left it right to the last stride, but thankfully he got the job done.”
Allen Ablett started his career in Victoria, winning his first three starts, however, after half a dozen runs, Wheeler decided his best chance of being a top racer was in NZ.
The 35-kilogram powerhouse has now won 14 of his 21 starts – including the Group 1 Spion Rose – and has earned close to $65,000.
Roberts also trained the seventh-placed Dirk Bale – a litter brother to Allen Ablett – which was never in the race after finding early trouble. The leading trainer remains optimistic that Dirk Bale has plenty to look forward to.
“You can’t be disappointed with him – you know he is the type of dog which won’t feature if he doesn’t lead because he doesn’t have the strength to run on at the end.
“Most times he leads though, so he normally does give himself a winning chance and there will be more races for him down the track.”
Roberts also prepares a third brother, Avenger Bale, which bypassed the Hatrick Classic. The red fawn dog has won 11 of his 19 starts and his trainer says he has a lot of ability too.
“Avenger Bale probably has the softest nature of the three of them and he was finding it a bit tough mentally against the top dogs.
“But he won well on Friday at [Ascot Park] so hopefully he will get a bit of confidence from that run because he has a lot of ability – he is probably just as good as Allen Ablett.”
With two group 1s to his name, Allen Ablett will now head to Auckland where he will contest the heats of the lucrative Group 1 Auckland Cup next month – the second richest race on the NZ racing calendar.
“The three of them will head towards that now – I’ll try to go up and trial them a few days before the heats which you’ve really got to do when you’ve got good dogs racing for big money – you have to give them every chance.
“I think the Auckland track will suit them better than Wanganui [Hatrick] so I am hoping that’s the case – if they handle the track I expect them all to go well.”
2018 Group 1 Hatrick Classic – results
1st – Allen Ablett (3) – Craig Roberts
2nd – Bigtime Paddy (1) – Lisa Cole
3rd – Quistis Bale (5) – Matt Roberts
4th – Nature’s Gent (2) – Angela Turnwald
5th – Ridin’ Shotgun (6) – Karen Walsh
6th – Thrilling Raider (4) – Karen Walsh
7th – Dirk Bale (7) – Craig Roberts
8th – Fusion Cronulla (8) – Angela Turnwald
Margins: nose x 3 lengths
First section: 4.95 (5)
Second section: 18.29 (1)
Run home: 11.50 (3)