Siblings Reunite For Middle Distance Championship

THE careers of sisters I’m Explosive and Stay Strong have gone in very different directions but on Thursday the duo line-up beside each other at Dapto.

Adam Dobbin

18 November 2021

THE careers of litter-sisters I’m Explosive and Stay Strong have gone in very different directions but on Thursday night the duo line-up beside each other in the Sportsbet Middle Distance Championship (600m) at Dapto.

In December last year the daughters of Barcia Bale and Explosive Madame launched their careers on the same card at Maitland before both were eventually sold with I’m Explosive transferring to Queensland while Stay Strong headed to Victoria.

On Thursday night, Stay Strong will exit box two for the $25,000-to-the-winner decider for trainer Emily Azzopardi while I’m Explosive has drawn box three for Queensland trainer Robert Ayres.

“I’m Explosive will be a lot better for last week’s heat run,” said Ayres.


“She drew box seven at her first look at Dapto and it was a pretty heavy track so she had the job ahead. Where she could she made up good ground but I expect to see a different bitch this week.

“There was a bit of soreness in her shoulder after the heat but that’s been worked on and we’re good to go. But it’s a very strong field. She doesn’t need to lead but she can begin on her night.”

I’m Explosive qualified for the $25,000-to-the-winner finale with a 5 ¾ length fourth placed finish behind Zipping Niseko in 34.43.

The effort was a month after the hugely talented bitch ran a blistering 30.24 over 520m at Ipswich, one of the fastest times recorded at the circuit.

“She can really run – as her record shows,” Ayres said.

“I think 600 metres is her best distance, her only previous run over it was at Albion Park when she finished second to Kooringa Lucy who is a top class bitch.

“Her run that night was very good. I’ve got no doubt she’s got the talent to win the final but like all big races it will come down to luck.”

Ayres has entrusted I’m Explosive’s Dapto preparation with Newcastle trainer Troy Robinson, brother of former top jockey Allan Robinson.

“I worked and was great mates with Troy’s late father John,” Ayres said.

“Troy’s a great young fella who does a top job and the bitch couldn’t be in better hands. We talk each day and her lead up to Thursday night has been great.”

Winner at nine of her 32 starts, I’m Explosive was purchased by Steve McDermott and Brendan Power as a 10 start maiden for $9400.

“I thought they had rocks in their head when they told me and asked me to train her,” Ayres said.

“But she’s won $50,000 now and I still think the best is ahead of her.

“Steve and Brendan are terrific young blokes that are really keen to have a go so it’s great to see them having some success.”


Setting the time-standard for Thursday’s decider is the Jason Magri-trained Zipping Niseko, the last start Group 1 Topgun Stayers (725m) runner-up extending her unbeaten Dapto run to seven with her 34.43 heat win.

The remaining heat was taken out by the David Smith-trained Prim and Proper, the daughter of Kinloch Brae downing another Magri-trained runner in Where’s Rocky by three-quarters-of-a-length in 34.69. 

Smith is also represented by two runners in the final with Ice Cream Story set to exit box eight after finishing runner-up to Zipping Niseko after leading.

And while Ayres is confident of a forward showing with I’m Explosive, he’s also hopeful Midnight Oil can create an impression in the $10,000-to-the-winner GRNSW Maiden Final (520m).

The regally bred daughter of Barcia Bale and Midnight Else finished three-quarters of a length second to Arran Victory in her heat after leading.

“That was her first look at Dapto as well,” Ayres said.

“I don’t know enough about her yet to know how she’ll handle box eight but I expect her to be better for last week’s run.

“She had two months off between her first and second run after injury to a stopper. If that holds up I think she’ll be a nice bitch.

“$10,000 in prize money for Thursday night is great money.”