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Karina Wows ‘Em in Temlee

Perfectly-named NSW superstar Wow came, saw and conquered when extending his remarkable winning streak to nine in the Group 1 Temlee (525m) on Saturday night, dominating the best sprinters in the land at his first start outside his home state.

It was an emotional triumph for young owner/trainer Karina Britton, whose late stepfather Ron Field bred Wow in partnership with close friend Wayne Hunter, but sadly didn’t live to see the son of the great Fernando Bale and Miss All Class’ racetrack heroics.

Britton celebrated her 36th birthday in dream fashion on January 23 when Wow presented her with her first Group 1 victory in the Paws Of Thunder and she added some belated icing for that cake on the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival.

“I can’t believe it,” said Britton.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that but he just keeps leaving me speechless.”

Wow’s unbeaten run started back on October 25 in the Goulburn Cup and he has since passed every test with flying colours, taking out the Group 2 Gosford Cup, Paws Of Thunder and now Temlee.

Wow won the Paws Of Thunder from box five but Britton admitted to being disappointed when he was again allocated the yellow vest for his – and Karina’s – interstate debut.

On the back of an impressive 29.72s Meadows trial one week earlier, Wow was sent to the boxes at $6.70, with Shima Shine, chasing his second Group 1 invitational trophy at The Meadows after winning the Topgun in November, the $2 favourite.

Wow began fairly from his middle alley but showed great acceleration to move into third rounding the first turn, poised on the outside of Tiggerlong Tonk ($8.30) and first reserve Yozo Bale ($42.30).

Wow strode to the lead in the back straight and broke clear approaching the home turn, finishing strongly in the centre of the track to defeat Yozo Bale by 1.5 lengths in 29.78s, his 17th win from 26 starts.

“He was a star already but I think tonight he’s proven himself to be one of the best,” Karina said proudly.

“I think I went blank during the race; I just froze.

“I saw he was running third but I wasn’t confident. I didn’t even look to see what was behind him. I was just thinking, ‘keep going!’

“I just wanted to see how he went tonight before I decided about the Australian Cup heats. The Richmond Derby is on at home but I think we have to come back after tonight.”

In the countdown to the biggest night of her training career, Britton spoke openly about the pressure of preparing a topliner and said the additional stress of the COVID restrictions introduced in Victoria on Friday almost proved too much.

“It was so stressful. I wasn’t sure what was happening,” she said.

“At one point I started to think it wasn’t worth the worry but we had to try to get here and as it turned out we were able to drive down this morning.”

Only 15 minutes after the Temlee, Wow’s litter brother Ad Astra, the winner of 10 from 15, completed an unforgettable night for Britton when winning a heat of the Group 2 Cyril Rowe Gold Cup at Bulli.

WATCH: With kennelmates TIGGERLONG TONK (3) and YOZO BALE (9) jostling for the early lead, NSW superstar WOW (5) swept around the outside before proving too classy in 29.78sec, his ninth straight win.

Photos by Clint Anderson

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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