Know Keeper Maintains Unbeaten Staying Record

BRILLIANT track sense aided Know Keeper to maintain his unbeaten staying record in Friday’s Matariki Distance feature at Manawatu Raceway.

Peter Fenemor

26 June 2022

BRILLIANT track sense aided the staying phenomenon Know Keeper to maintain his impressive unbeaten staying record during Friday’s 660m $15,000 Matariki Distance feature at the Manawatu Raceway.

Geez, the Garry Cleeve prepared stayer gave his supporters heart failure when, after being held wide going into the first turn, he appeared to have too much real estate to make up when racing down the back straight. 

Rounding the big, sweeping turn Know Keeper weighed up his options, switching off hind paws when racing in traffic, ducking down to the rail to set off after the Karen Walsh trained freewheeling pacemaker Thrilling Fern.

That proved to be the winning tactic as the son of Know Class and Know Jinx powered home to secure his 18th consecutive staying victory by a half-length margin in 38.30s over a bold finishing Raja Bale for Craig Roberts. Thrilling Fern stuck on gamely for her third placing.

“I was worried about him being held wide going into the first turn, therefore giving the inside runners a start, which happened.   

“Going down the back when he was midfield and had strong types in front of him my thoughts went to at least he can still nab some place-money.

“When I saw him chop of hind paws and dive to the rail my hopes raised – absolutely rapt with the way he came home. Let’s say mightily relieved,” expressed Cleeve.

He added about the winner of 33 races and $238,499 in stake earnings, “It has been amazing what he has done for us – he certainly has exceeded all of our expectations.”    

Matariki Stakes

The width of a cigarette paper was all that separated the exciting prospect Federal Infrared and Carlos Jewel at the business end of the $30,000 Matariki Stakes after 25.89s of intense 457m chasing action.

The Lisa Cole conditioned Federal Infrared was giving away volumes in race experience to her rivals when she kicked clear from the one trap. Meanwhile Carlos Jewel had settled in the rear division after making a moderate start for his trainer Craig Roberts.

They came at Federal Infrared from all angles over the concluding stages with Carlos Jewel diving through along the rail to come up short by a real skinny nose in what was a real blanket finish.     

There was just head back to the third placed Charlotte Lu with Tap Out Classy being a further neck astern.

Increditably Federal Infrared was having just her sixth race day outing and she extended her unbeaten record since crossing the Tasman with this being her fourth for her owing Fairbairn Benjes partnership.

“She was sent over here after she had an issue in her second race. I found some nerve damage in her lower back, rectified that and four races later she comes out and wins a stakes race,” advised Brendon Cole.

“She has immense early speed – she’s very special and she can only improve.”

The powerful Cole kennel cleaned up the second half of Friday’s enhanced stakes premier card producing the last six-race winners, which included the ultra-consistent Big Time Prada being rewarded when she stylishly prevailed in the feature $15,000 Matariki Sprint final over the 375m dash.    

The feature race results came as a fillip to the Cole operation who, along with others, are acutely feeling the loss of the Hatrick venue.

“With the Hatrick track being out of action for so long has really impacted on all us. The two turn track is essential for racing. The only options we have is to travel to Manukau and Addington, which really stretches our staffing levels.

“I don’t see us having any option but to cut back our breeding program which is a dam shame considering all the group race winning brood bitches we have here. 

“We can bring across (the Tasman) ready-made quality greyhounds like Federal Infrared, Mustang Charlie, Typhoon Tim etc. like we have here now, therefore why go through all the costs and stress off breeding and rearing dogs like we have been doing?” queried Cole.