Roberts Full Of Emotion After Group 1 Double

TRAINER Craig Roberts was full of emotion following the Group 1 victories by Paul Wheeler bred greyhounds during Thursday’s New Zealand Cup meeting.

Peter Fenemor

12 November 2021

“I reckon Paul gave them a huge push along,” an emotional Craig Roberts said about the two outstanding Group 1 victories by Paul Wheeler bred greyhounds during Thursday’s New Zealand Cup meeting.

Roberts was also reflecting on the decade’s long association he enjoyed with Paul Wheeler, between them securing numerous group race victories – an estimated 30 plus black type titles.

Dalisha Bale produced a booming finish to convincingly deliver an upset win in the $100,000 New Zealand Cup.

Two races later Uthor Bale comprehensively outstayed his rivals when securing the $30,000 New Zealand Stayers Cup title over 732m.

“I’m so rapt to be able train these greyhounds to win these group 1 races for the Wheeler family. It is absolutely fantastic to see Paul’s legacy carrying on,” stated Roberts. 

Dalisha Bale was a tad tardily away from the Addington 520m six trap, settling back during the initial rush.

It was last year’s NZ Cup winner Rock On John who won the break for Dave and Jean Fahey to lead the field into the first turn.

Pushing forward at that point was Leonard Bale, who then faltered with the Roberts prepared dual group 1 winner suffering a career ending hock injury. 

Meanwhile Dalisha Bale received a clear racing passage, popping her into clear air, then with her strength quickly gathered in the pacesetting Rock On John to race clear with the daughter of Allen Deed and Houston Bale slipping away for her 1.25 length victory, clocking 30.12s and returning a $41.60 tote winning dividend.

Rock On John kicked on stoutly for his second, while his promising kennelmate Opawa Superstar finished resolutely for his third placing another 3.75 lengths astern.

“I had thought that Delisha Bale’s strength could be a factor in the cup field and so it proved. It panned out perfectly for her in getting a nice cart into the race and I started thinking she can win this when going down the back straight,” said Roberts.

As a contest the NZ Stayers Cup was all over with over a lap of the Addington track to gallop.

Uthor Bale had quickly claimed the pacemaker from where he turned the 732m staying event into a procession. 

After 43.56s of hard out chasing he cruised to the judge holding a 4.25 length margin over the solid finishing Claws In Leo who is prepared by Roberts son Matt.

“Uthor Bale never knows how to run a bad race. He’s such a competitive stayer who will keep on digging in,” advised Roberts about the son of Dyna Double One and Samus Allen who advanced his career earning through the $100,000 stakes barrier.

Roberts also indicated that a stud career looms for Leonard Bale once he recuperates.

“He was such a quick and hard chaser, with a fantastic attitude. We are keen to offer him being a son of Fernando Bale,” he said about the winner of 24 races and $129,297 in career earnings.

And earlier in the evening it was back-to-back Galaxy Sprint training successes for Lisa Cole, when evergreen chaser Bigtime Cooper took full advantage of his ace-trap draw to dash clear for his 17.13s win in the group 1 295m dash.

Last season it was Trojan Hoarse who prevailed while in the twilight of his career and a similar scenario applies to Bigtime Cooper who likewise has dropped back to short course sprinting after overcoming niggly injuries.