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.