QUICKER THAN KANTARN, BRAVER THAN SUELLEN, BUT HOW DOES XYLIA ALLEN COMPARE TO MIATA?
On the back of Xylia Allen capturing her seventh track record, Brendan Wheeler has spoken about the superstar greyhound’s future, how she compares to some of the all-time greats and why so many track records have fallen in Victoria in recent times.
Xylia Allen captured the seventh track record of her career with another brilliant performance over 600m at The Meadows on Saturday night, her last hit out before she heads to Brisbane to contest a heat of the Group 1 Gold Cup (710m) on Thursday night.
Bred by and owned by the Wheeler family and trained by Jenny Hunt, Xylia Allen ran a time of 33.983sec at The Meadows, lowering Bookkeeper’s record (34.058sec) by over a length.
Q: Are you surprised Xylia Allen beat Bookkeeper’s record so comfortably?
Brendan Wheeler: Yes I was because she didn’t exactly fly the lids and she had to work through the field a bit before she hit the lead.
Q. What is her ideal distance?
BW: Anywhere between 600m and 650m is perfect for her because once she hits the front she’s almost impossible to catch. But over 700m (or further) she struggles in the last 50 or 60 metres and often relies on a little bit interference occurring behind her.
Q. Which of Xylia Allen’s track records stands out as the best in your mind?
BW: Her Wentworth Park track record over 720m was probably the stand out in my opinion. To run a track record anywhere is a great achievement, but to run one at a metropolitan track, where you know all the good dogs have been is an outstanding achievement, especially as she beat Dyna Willow’s record quite convincingly.
Q. How do you compare Xylia Allen to Suellen Bale (121 starts for 53 wins, 26 placings), who for so many years was regarded as the best ever Wheeler-bred female greyhound?
BW: Suellen Bale had such great longevity and she was similar to Xylia Allen in terms of her amazing speed and her versatility. The difference between them is that Suellen Bale didn’t like being crowded and she couldn’t handle the hustle and bustle of racing like Xylia Allen does.
Q. How does Xylia Allen compare with GRV Hall of Famer, Kantarn Bale (78 starts, 45 wins & 15 placings)?
BW: Xylia Allen was certainly quicker than Kantarn Bale, but I’d say Kantarn Bale is the smartest greyhound I’ve ever seen in a field. He seemed to always find a way of weaving his way to the front in races over 500 metres.
Q. Last comparison, Xylia Allen with Miata (51 starts, 42 wins, six placings), who is part-owned by your wife, Nichole?
BW: I rate Xylia Allen as highly as I do Miata up to 650m, but the difference is that Miata can run a genuine 700m where as Xylia can’t yet. I know Xylia holds the 720m track record at Wentworth Park, but she usually struggles in the last 50 or 60 metres in staying races.
Q. Why do you think so many track records have been broken in Victoria in recent months?
BW: It’s really hard to know why, but it seems as though every Victorian track has had a track record fall in the past six months. Maybe it’s because there are so many quick greyhounds at the moment, because virtually every greyhound that breaks a record is a dog of outstanding ability. Or perhaps this is simply a result of breeders breeding better in recent years, it’s hard to know.
Q. How much longer will Xylia Allen keep racing?
BW: It depends on how she adapts to running over 700m. If she can prove herself to be a Group 1 winning stayer then we’ll keep her racing as long as she wants to.
Q. Has a sire been picked out for her yet?
BW: Not yet. We’re keen to inject some early speed into her pups, maybe from a sire from the Brett Lee line, or from an outcross. We’re mindful to steer away from the Head Honcho line though, because she has a lot of Head Honcho blood in her.
*Brendan Wheeler is the son of leading breeders Paul and Jan Wheeler, and he plays a major role in the breaking-in and education of their pups.
April 2011 Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale
Starts: 66 – 30 – 10 – 11
Prize money: $526,705
Track records: Launceston (515m) 29.09sec; Horsham (570m) 31.934sec; Traralgon (658m) 33.038sec; Geelong (596m) 33.968sec; Geelong (680m) 38.908; Wentworth Park (720m) 41.53sec; The Meadows (600m) 33.983sec