Kiwi owner/breeder Alison Lee is still on cloud nine after her superb greyhound Above All scored an emphatic victory in last night’s Group One Hobart Thousand.
Beginning well from box five, the Robert Britton- trained chaser found the front in the early stages and put on an effortless demonstration, defeating Ride The Rails by seven and three quarter lengths with Melbourne Cup champ Dyna Villa back in third.
“It is surreal, I still can’t believe it”, Lee enthused, “It was very exciting and a great experience”.
Lee made the trip from the Land of the Long White Cloud to the Apple Isle to cheer on her brilliant black performer, thinking that he would race well in the $75,000 to the winner feature.
“I thought that if he jumped and got a bit of clear room that he would be a chance, but I really thought the one (Big Ticket) and two (Dyna Villa) would have jumped better and that he would have had to tuck in behind them”, Lee explained.
“Rob (Britton) said that the four (Blurred Lines) missed the jump and it gave him that little bit of room which he used to his advantage.
“Although he was in front, I wasn’t too sure because he had Dyna Villa behind him, but he just kept going.”
Not only did Above All record one of the most dominant Hobart Thousand wins in recent times, the son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx also smashed the track record previously held by one turn king Paw Licking, clocking a breathtaking 25.52 over the 461 metre trip.
Lee said his effort to shave 12/100ths off the previous Hobart benchmark was just the icing on top of the cake.
“I couldn’t believe that he broke the track record and I didn’t even realise he had until I got down to the presentation. He went well and to top it off I was then told the track was a little bit soft too, so to get the track record has just made it unbelievable.”
Above All came into the Hobart Thousand series after having a freshen up following his fourth placing in the Melbourne Cup. Lee said that the short break was pivotal for Above All, with just 11 starts to his name before the Tassie series.
“He was unlucky in the Melbourne Cup, he got a couple of checks and we think he hit the rail. For him to hold on for fourth, we were really happy with the run.
“We wanted to keep him fresh, he races better that way and he is only young so Rob has just decided to race him lightly and pick out races for him.”
Above All qualified for Australia’s oldest race with a phenomenal last to first heat performance on December 11. Showing maturity and field sense way beyond what his racetrack experience would suggest, the 32 kilogram powerhouse weaved his way through the field and captured the lead in the run to the line.
“It was a huge run in his heat”, Lee said, “We were absolutely screaming back home.”
“When he jumped and got checked I thought ‘on no’ but he really used his brain, he went back to the rail and found his way through the field.”
Now with 13 starts for eight wins and two minor placings, Above All looms as one of the most promising and exciting chasers in the country. Lee, who bred him with her partner Merv O’Brien in New Zealand, said that they virtually knew from day one that he was superbly talented.
Based on this, they decided to send him to Australian shores to race under the tutelage of Britton, who previously trained their former gun speedster, Clone Your Own, to win the Group Two Harrison-Dawson.
“The bloke that broke him in said that he was quicker than any other dog he has put around.
“When I got him home I hand slipped him at Addington and the time that he ran home in for his first trial was huge. I knew then we had to get him over to Rob as soon as we could.”
“Rob is brilliant, he is such a good conditioner. He looks after his dogs, they are always fit and in brilliant condition and the whole family- Rob and Mary and Pete and everyone that works there, they are just really great.
“Plus they always buy him an ice cream and a cheeseburger on the way home”, Lee laughed.
At this stage, the next goal for him is tomorrow night’s heats of the Group One Silver Chief at The Meadows, however Lee explained that the final call will rest with Britton to determine whether the dog is ready to back up in the 525 metre feature.
“Rob wasn’t going to make any commitments until he was back at home and settled in his kennel, but if there are any issues then he will scratch him straight away.”
Lee and O’Brien, who have been breeding greyhounds for 18 years, look set to have a wonderful ride ahead of them with Above All.
“The sky is the limit for him and Rob will just pick and choose the races for him to go in and eventually he will stand at stud.
“As long as he stays fit and sound he should have a huge future, it is great what he is doing for New Zealand racing.”