Smith Eyes Middle Distance Riches With Soda Fizz

SODA Fizz will step back up to the middle distance journeys after an eye catching victory over 515m at Sandown Park on Thursday evening.

Mick Floyd

28 January 2022

SODA Fizz will step back up to the middle distances after an eye catching win over 515m at Sandown Park on Thursday night.

Trained by Lyn Smith, Soda Fizz ran 29.17 to qualify fastest for the 3-6 win final which featured some of the hottest young sprinters in Victoria including Levitation, Just Like Mick and El Dorado.

Sent out the $2.40 favourite from box one, Soda Fizz was beaten for early speed and unable to repeat the 5.06 first split from his heat and was buried away on the rail as they passed the post the first time.

After riding a check through the catching pen, Soda Fizz found clear air down the back straight and set out in pursuit of early leader Just Like Mick. He drew level as they straightened for home before powering to the line to win by half-a-length in 29.46.

It was Soda Fizz’s third start back after a six-week layoff after an incident at Sale in which he suffered a nasty fall in the concluding stages of the race following a colliding with another greyhound.

“It was pretty scary to watch from behind the boxes, I thought he’d broken a leg to be honest,” said Smith.

“There was no injury, but we just decided to give him some time off and reset him.”

As impressive as his consecutive Sandown Park 515m victories have been, Smith is excited about his future over the middle distances and possibly beyond.

“He’s always trialled well. I think he’ll be better over more ground, but we’ve put him into the races more fresh and he’s less dour,” Smith said.

“We’d normally have given him a couple of trials over 500m before putting him in, and I think he might have missed the start a little last night because he was a little flat from the run on Sunday, but he gets to the line well enough because he’s so strong.

“We’ll step him back up now and work his way back up to 650m. We don’t have anything in mind, we’ll see where he takes us.”

Later in the night, Group 1 Sale Cup winner Jarick Bale overcame early trouble to claim the Listed Maidment Memorial (595m) over favourite Invictus Rising in an impressive 33.77.

It was the Mark Delbridge-trained son of Allen Deed’s 20th career victory, the last five of which have come in the fastest time of the night.

The night’s second feature, the Listed Australian Sprint (515m), was a one dog affair with Nikoli Bale claiming the $15,000-to-the-winner event by nine and a half lengths.

The Sam Grenfell trained sprinter entered the race having been placed in seven of eight starts since running seventh in the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial over 595m at Sandown Park on Melbourne Cup night last November.

Despite a tardy getaway that saw him post a modest 5.15 first split, Nikoli Bale recovered quickly and showed tremendous acceleration down the back straight, claiming the lead with 200m to run before unleashing a brilliant 10.43 final split to land the biggest win of his career.