Robert Britton enhanced his reputation as Australia’s finest staying conditioner when favourite Barcali charged home to claim a thrilling victory in the Group 1 Bold Trease Final (715m) on Melbourne Cup night.
Despite having the two best stayers in the land – litter brothers Tornado Tears and Rippin’ Sam – sidelined through injury, Britton was still able to take out the $105,000 to-the-winner Bold Trease for the third time in six years, having previously won the race with champion Fanta Bale in 2017 and Cheetah Zorro in 2013.
It was a feature race breakthrough for Barcali, which had twice played second fiddle to his more illustrious kennelmates, when runner-up to Tornado Tears in the Group 3 Topcat Video Cup and to Rippin’ Sam in the Group 3 Lizrene Speed Star.
“Robbie (Britton) is an absolute genius,” said proud owner/breeder Noel Mugavin.
“He is starting to get the reputation as the Bart Cummings of greyhound racing and I think he is earning it. He is a wonderful trainer.”
Taking advantage of the enforced absence of Tornado Tears and Rippin’ Sam, Barcali was the fastest qualifier for the Bold Trease, winning his heat in 41.63sec, and he started $2.60 favourite from box three in the decider, shading NSW visitor Poco Dorado at $2.70.
Britton also had a second finalist in $17.10 outsider Soda Flash.
Stepping up to 715m after claiming the middle distance Group 1 Hume Cup at The Meadows earlier in the month, Black Impala ($8.30) led from box one, ahead of Soda Flash, with Barcali settling in fourth place.
Black Impala appeared set for back-to-back Group 1 triumphs when he led deep into the home straight but Barcali hooked out three-wide and powered to the line to edge out Black Impala by .64 of a length in 42.01sec, with roughie Hot Tip ($27.90) close-up in third.
The winner’s kennelmate, Soda Flash, was just 1.5 lengths away in fourth, while the well-fancied Poco Dorado was never a factor, finishing at the tail of the field.
“His run was unbelievable,” Warrnambool-based Mugavin said.
“I thought it was going to take a big effort to get somewhere in this race and he did it.
“To win a race like the Bold Trease, named after one of the greatest men and his dog from Warrnambool, makes me almost speechless. Norm (McCullagh) is a superstar and he has done so much for the Warrnambool community, so it is great to win a race remembering the great Bold Trease.”
Barcali has now won 15 of his 41 starts and four of his last five, with the pulsating Bold Trease triumph seeing him emulate his Group 1-winning mother Born Ali, which won the Galaxy in Perth in 2014 when also trained by Robert Britton.
* Compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Molly Haines. Photos by Clint Anderson.