Federal Infrared had been the dominant chaser throughout the three-meeting Springston Hotel New Zealand Cup series. She brought that domination into the $100,000 Group 1 final and, apart from a slight stumble when exiting from the five-trap, the Lisa Cole-prepared $1.70 favourite gave her army of supporters no cause for concern.
And to sweeten the result, kennelmate Blazin’ Master provided the Cole kennel with the Group 1 quinella, meaning that the connections of both greyhounds will each receive a straw from the 2019 NZ Cup winner Pinny Mack, generously donated by Sean Codlin.
Federal Infrared freewheeled her way through her assignment, completing 5.90 and 17.77 sectionals when cruising to her 30.17 victory for her owners the Fairbairn Benjes Partnership.
Blazin’ Master chased her hard throughout, finishing 1.75 lengths behind.
Overcoming some initial jostling was the Dave and Jean Fahey-trained Opawa Hugo, who won out in a blanket finish for third placing a further 1.25 lengths behind. In doing so, he secured the Breeder’s Bonus, with the son of Fernando Bale and Opawa Hop being the first NZ-bred chaser to finish in the Group 1 final.
For Ella Cole, it was a hugely successful conclusion of a three-week campaign for the kennels during the NZ Cup series, basing herself at Bruce and Ann Dann’s Rakaia training base. She was joined by her sister Georgia and brother Max for the finals evening.
“Having access to Bruce’s facilities made it so much easier for us. We really appreciate Bruce’s support, which has been ongoing over many years,” said Brendon Cole.
“That was a really good result for us. Sushi [her kennel name] stumbled slightly when leaving the traps, but she quickly picked herself up and booted clear going into the first turn. I was happy when seeing Blazin’ Master chasing her through and I was reasonably confident at that point that nothing else was going to get past them.
“They ran slipstream throughout the race, and it was definitely a very well-deserved win for Federal Infrared. She’s such a tough girl.
“I was pleased for Morgan Benjes, who flew over from Sydney. They are hugely successful breeders of thoroughbreds and greyhounds at their Federal Park location. Their operation is a real family affair and this was their biggest win in greyhound racing, being a Group 1 race.”
Ranging high on Federal Infrared’s radar is the all-time New Zealand stake-earning record, held by the Cole-mentored 2011 New Zealand Cup winner, Little Mother. She completed her distinguished career with $377,751, hugely aided by 85 career wins.
The New Zealand Cup victory has advanced Federal Infrared’s earnings up to $309,883, the result of 40 race wins.
“It will be a remarkable achievement if Sushi can reach that milestone,” commented Cole about the daughter of Aussie Infrared and Flo Jo Focus.
High-class sprinter Levi Bale deservedly secured his first Group 1 title when he emphatically put away his rivals while sprinting to his 2023 The HomeKill Guys Galaxy Sprint victory.
The Craig Roberts-prepared current New Zealand Sprinter of the Year tracked the pacemaker Mint As into the turn when he was presented with a rails racing passage.
Seizing upon the opportunity, the fawn son of Zambora Brockie and Kenju Bale charged through and powerfully cut clear, leaving his rivals in his slipstream to claim his effortless 17.04 win by a comfortable three-length margin.
The northern visitor Mint As was gallant when he stoutly kicked on to secure the runner-up prize for his conditioners, Jared Udy and Denise Cottam. Their locally bred son of Thrilling Boris and Tres Vite was additionally rewarded with the $1000 Breeder’s Bonus by being the first New Zealand-bred sprinter to finish, completing a rewarding southern campaign.
Extending strongly from the midfield pack to greet the judge a further two lengths behind for his third placing was the Jason Dunn-prepared Opawa Fat.
“Winning the Galaxy was bloody good for Levi,” said Roberts, who has now prepared five Galaxy Sprint winners. “Once he hopped away good and found himself in clear space, I knew he would go underneath the pacemaker and he would be too strong for them.
“Look, he has been an ultra-consistent sprinter, so much so that he’s only missed one sprint stake since he arrived over here. He’s broken the Addington 295m 17-second barrier nine times.
“I’ll take him along quietly as he’s getting on, although yes, he’ll probably go up to Whanganui for the Dash For Cash heats.”
The Jan Wheeler-owned Levi Bale’s biggest career win advanced his career stake earnings to a tidy $134,533, the result of 37 wins and 15 minor placings from his 69 raceday outings.2023-11-21T04:21:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd