Southern kennels hit the jackpot as carnival steps up a gear

Caption: Tyson Barton, Fahey’s Magic, and part of their big team of supporters after winning the $150,000 Group 1 Golden Sands Final (600m) at Albion Park on Thursday night. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

Pat McLeod reviews Thursday night’s Albion Park meeting:

The ‘invaders’ made a decisive raid on the Golden Greys Summer Carnival at Albion Park on Thursday night with all three majors going to interstate kennels.

Northern New South Wales’ quiet achiever Tyson Barton, and his diminutive heroine Fahey’s Magic, took the lion’s share of prizemoney on offer when they scooted away with the $150,000 Group 1 Golden Sands final (600m).

Victorian class act, Morton, provided the perfect medicine for his recovering trainer Jessica Sharp by powering to victory in the $112,500 Group 2 Queensland Derby Final (520m).

And WA’s new pin-up chaser, Daddy’s Girl, ensured that trainer Kody Charles’ battle with the Queensland heat was worth it, by overcoming local Kia Kaha (Warren Nicholls) in the $112,500 Group 2 Bogie Leigh Futurity Final (520m).

“I didn’t picture this race finishing like this,” the quietly spoken Barton offered after the biggest win by far in his career.

“I only thought about this race when she won her first 600 metre race here recently (December 11). Honestly, I hadn’t considered this race before then.

“During this week I had a feeling she could win if she jumped. I thought if she jumped in front, she could run 34.70, or better.

“Tonight she jumped OK, but then got a little bit cluttered out by the other dogs.

“As soon as I saw her come past me at the 600m boxes I knew that she was going to go alright. She was running second then and I thought to myself ‘I think she can go a little bit better’.

“From then on I couldn’t see much of the race from where I was standing, so I was just looking and hoping.”

While rapt with the win, Barton wasn’t surprised with the tenacity of his 24.4kg bitch, who was able to reel in Ray Webster’s experienced Father Rick, with Scintillate (Tom Tzouvelis) third. The time was 34.89.

Barton, 38, a part-time trainer who is Casino born and bred, said winning a Group 1 race had not been one of his immediate goals.

“Winning a Group One race, to be honest it wasn’t a major goal of mine,” he said.

“I just wanted to train my own dogs and be good at that. That is all I wanted to do and so this is a bonus.

“Of course, I wanted to win good races, but I didn’t think I would be winning a Group 1 race this soon.

“I am happy to win a race here on a Monday night let alone a Group 1 race on a Thursday night.”

Barton anticipated a celebration ‘for a couple of weeks’ after Thursday night’s win, but has a race closer to home in mind for his Magic Sprite – Amber Ale chaser.

“There is a race at Casino in a couple of weeks worth $25,000 so I think I might put her in that,” he said.

“She loves Casino, so that will probably be the next target.”

Barton said his ultimate goal was to train fulltime, however the support of his father (Steve) allowed him to juggle training and work at a local soybean mill.

He also had special praise for owner Chad Pearce.

“The win is so good for the owners because they have invested a lot of money in the dogs and they always do the right thing by them,” he said.

“They look after them from day dot right through their racing careers.”

Caption: WA’s Kody Charles and Daddy’s Girl, with handler Anita Watts, after winning the $112,500 Group 2 Bogie Leigh Futurity Final (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

The night was also a major success for sire-of-the-moment, Tommy Shelby, whose offspring won both the Derby and Futurity.

WA’s Kody Charles was ‘over the moon’ with Daddy’s Girl’s win in the Futurity.

“I’m just so proud of the dog,” he said after her 1.5length win over Kia Kaha, with Nangar Nellie (Dennis Barnes) third, in 30.18.

“I am over the moon and absolutely ecstatic with this win. It is always great when you have a dream and the plan comes together.

“Box one certainly helped.

“It was a last-minute decision to bring the dog across with Saige Tenniele. She was a travelling companion.

“We just thought we would give her a chance without too much to lose.

“We were so lucky to win the Nationals in 2023 with Saige Tenniele. That was super, but it also makes you hungry and makes you want to come here and be successful.

“If you want to be good at life you have to challenge yourself.”

Charles said that although he struggled with the Queensland heat, he was rapt with his first Queensland campaign and especially the assistance provided by local greyhound identity Rob Essex, where he and the dogs have stayed.

“It has been a great carnival so far and we plan to stay on for another three or four weeks with Saige Tenniele.

“She will be targeted towards the Golden Ticket and then the Gold Bullion.

“At this stage Daddy’s Girl will probably head back (to WA) at the weekend. The plan was just to bring her over for this race.”

Charles said he would be joined in Queensland next week by his wife Brittani and their three children.

“To pull this off is a dream and I’m just so proud of the dog and also everyone back home. It is a team effort to win a race like this,” he said.

“My family has been so supportive.

“You have to do a lot to chase your dreams and I certainly could not be doing this without my wife.

“So, we will keep dreaming and keep chasing these big races.”

Caption: Victoria’s Jason and Jessica Sharp with Morton after success in the the $112,500 Group 2 Queensland Derby Final (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

Victoria’s Jessica Sharp received a massive get-well boost when her brilliant young sprinter Morton put his stamp on the Derby, winning by five-and-three-quarter-lengths over Party Mode (Craig Gardoll) with Zipping Remus (Melinda Finn) third, in 29.65.

Jessica’s husband Jason, who handled the dog, said his wife had been cleared to fly up for the final after an operation two weeks ago.

“She is getting better every day and this (win) will help the healing process even more,” he said.

“This dog is the fastest we have ever had.

“He is just a complete professional and is not interested in anything else other than the lure.

“He just loves racing.”

Sharp said the ‘probable’ next plan was to take the dog to Wentworth Park for the Group 1 National Derby (heats January 12, final January 20).

“Then we will come back here for the Gold Bullion heats (Thursday, January 25),” he said.



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