Ageless Victorian expatriate Ring The Bell (pictured with, from left, Glenn Pask, handler Mark Smith, Gerry O’Keeffe and Grant Pask) will be striving to go back-to-back in New Zealand’s most prestigious race on Sunday when he defends his Group 1 Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar (779m) crown at Manukau Stadium in Auckland.
Raced by the Victoria-based Four Frothys Syndicate, which includes brothers Glenn and Grant Pask and Jamie Baxter, Ring The Bell won the 2017 Silver Collar when trained by Gerry O’Keeffe, Glenn Pask’s father-in-law.
The beautifully-bred son of Kinloch Brae and Absolute Stunna, a litter brother to exciting stud prospect Blazin’ Bomber and 2016 Sandown Cup heroine Bells Are Ringin, also won the 2016 National Distance Championship at Angle Park.
After winning last year’s Silver Collar, Ring The Bell remained in the Shaky Isles, under the guidance of veteran Kiwi mentor Ray Adcock, also winning the Group 1 NZ Stayers Cup.
Ring The Bell has been sparingly raced in 2018, starting just seven times, but the rising five-year-old produced the standout performance in Monday’s heats of the Silver Collar, which were postponed from Sunday due to a torrential downpour that flooded the circuit.
“They called them off on Sunday and they reckon the track was still 25 lengths off on Monday. That’s how wet it was,” said part owner/breeder Glenn Pask, who will fly to New Zealand this weekend to watch his evergreen warrior chase a fourth Group 1 trophy.
“But Ring The Bell thrives on that. And the further they go the better. “He’s been unbelievable. He’s four years and seven months old now and he’s still competing in top company over there.
“Ring The Bell went 47.47sec in his heat and Dusty Gambler won the other heat in 47.85sec, but the track was very heavy and that suited our dog. I don’t think Dusty Gambler wants any further but I’d say he’ll be the favourite and we’ll be second favourite.
“Ring The Bell has drawn box two and we’re really happy with that. I think it’s probably a harder race than last year but I’m quietly confident he’s going to run a very good race. If he can be sitting second or third we always know he’s going to come home strongly.”
Retirement to a deserved life of luxury is beckoning for Ring The Bell; however the Four Frothys Syndicate still has plenty to be excited about.
Former sprinting superstar Blazin’ Bomber’s stud career is gathering momentum, while Sandown Cup heroine Bells Are Ringin has produced litters to Banjo Boy (May ’17) and Cosmic Rumble (March ’18).
“We’ve spoken to Ray (Adcock) and after the Silver Collar, Ring The Bell will go to the NZ Stayers Cup at his home track of Christchurch, which he won last year, and I daresay that will be it,” Pask explained.
“He’s going to retire in New Zealand. When we were over there last year a lady called Jenny Barlett asked us if we would let her have him when he was retired. We always try to find a good home for our dogs and we know Jenny will look after him.
“Blazin’ Bomber is going very well. Tammy Collins has him at stud and he’s served 12 bitches. His oldest pups are about seven months old, so hopefully in a year’s time we’ll start seeing what they can do.”