Fanta Bale was awarded the Victorian Greyhound of the Year at tonight’s 2016/17 Victorian Greyhound Awards at Sandown Park following a sensational season of racing that included a phenomenal five Group 1 victories.
Trained at Lara by Robert Britton. Fanta Bale is unrivalled in terms of success at the very top level when it comes to versatility.
She is the only greyhound to win at Group 1 level as a sprinter, middle-distance and staying performer, having won the Hume Cup (600m), Rookie Rebel (600m), Australian Cup (525m), Sandown Cup (715m) and the Gold Cup (710m) during the 2016/17 racing year.
First awarded in 1973 by the immortal Lizrene, the Victorian Greyhound of the Year is considered the highest accolade a current racing greyhound can receive in this state.
“I don’t think she is the best sprinter in the land or the best stayer in the land, she is just a damn good dog with an enormous will to win,” Britton said.
“Fanta Bale has a unique story. She is a daughter of a female greyhound I bought in America called UCME Typhoon, and I bought her in the auctions over there. UCME Typhoon’s other owners, Sandy Mathieson and John Hutchison weren’t interested in breeding with her and neither was I, but I was talking to Paul Wheeler about her, and he was interested in breeding with her and we went from there.”
As well as the Victorian Greyhound of the Year, Fanta Bale was also announced the Victorian Stayer of the Year, while Striker Light was awarded the Victorian Sprinter of the Year. All three awards relate to racing between 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, and are voted on by the Victorian Greyhound of the Year Panel and revealed via a secret ballot.
It was a huge night for Britton, who was also announced the Metropolitan Trainer of the Year and the Ned Bryant ‘Silver Fox’ recipient for showing outstanding achievements in the training of greyhounds and promotion of greyhound racing.
There were three new inductees into GRV’s Hall of Fame – Jan Wilson (administration), Barry Smith (breeding) and El Grand Senor (racing greyhound).
Legendary race caller Ron Hawkswell was presented with the Ken Carr Medal, considered the highest award for excellence, husband and wife training team Narelle and Kevin Podmore were recipients of the GRV Welfare Award for their efforts in re-homing their greyhounds once they finish racing, and Andrea Dailly was announced the Provincial Trainer of the Year.
FANTA’S BALE PROFILE
Breeding: August 2014 David Bale – UCME Typhoon
Breeder/owner: Paul Wheeler (Boorowa, NSW)
Trainer: Robert Britton (Lara VIC)
Record during 2016/17 racing year: 35 starts, 21-4-5 ($785,175 prize money)
2017 VICTORIAN GREYHOUND AWARDS – the recipients
Greyhound of the Year: Fanta Bale
Sprinter of the Year: Striker Light
Stayer of the Year: Fanta Bale
Metropolitan Trainer of the Year: Robert Britton (Lara VIC), 140 full stakes city winners
Provincial Trainer of the Year: Andrea Dailly (Anakie VIC), 336 winners
Hall of Fame: Jan Wilson OAM (Category: Administration)
Hall of Fame: Barry Smith (Category: Breeder)
Hall of Fame: El Grand Senor (Category: Racing Greyhound)
Ken Carr Medal: Ron Hawkswell
Ned Bryant ‘Silver Fox’ Award: Robert Britton (Lara VIC)
GRV Welfare Award: Kevin and Narelle Podmore (Pearcedale VIC)