• Friday, 18 Feb, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Road’ to Super Stayers glory!

NSW staying sensation Stanley Road heads a strong interstate contingent in the Group 1 TAB Fanta Bale Super Stayers heats (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

And his Thirlmere-based trainer, Mark Gatt, is hoping he can ultimately defend his crown. Stanley Road defeated Sir Truculent (SA) and Sunset Bourbski (Vic) in last year’s event.

Since its inception in 1998, only one greyhound – Destini Fireball (2013-14) – has gone back-to-back in the ‘Fanta Bale’, named in honour of the 2018 Super Stayers winner.

Stanley Road (Box 7) is $2.10F to win his heat – Race 1, 6.38pm – and on the equal second line of TAB’s ‘All In’ market at $6.00, with Gypsy Wyong and Untapped, behind Mepunga Ruby at $3.50.

An ultra-popular stayer – largely due to his Bold Trease type finish – Stanley Road is somewhat an ‘adopted son’ by Victorian greyhound racing aficionados who have claimed him as one of their own.

In metaphorical terms, he epitomises the perennial Australia-New Zealand ‘origins’ debate on the pavlova, lamington, Phar Lap, Russell Crowe and Crowded House, to name a few.

‘Steal’ him or not, Stanley Road enjoyed a stellar ‘Australian Cup Carnival’ last year, also finishing runner-up to Houdini Boy – ironically with a carbon copy last-to-first style – in the G1 Zoom Top.

Click HERE  for TAB’s ‘All in’ Fanta Bale Super Stayers market.

Stanley Road (Jun ’18 Allen Deed x Piper Road) doesn’t bring over the same type of form on paper to last year, but it should be noted that he’s contested five Group race finals in his past 10 starts.

A dual G1 winner (he also won the 2021 Association Cup), Stanley Road opened his second ‘Australian Cup Carnival’ campaign with fourth to Gypsy Wyong in last week’s G1 Zoom Top.

“He’s going as good as last year in trials,” Gatt said. “But mentally, he’s not as confident in a race scenario. (Back in November, Stanley Road fell in the G1 TAB Topgun Stayers.)

“We just want to get through this week. I’d like to make it to the final and draw ‘inside’, and he’d be capable of defending his title.”

Gatt was also buoyed by Stanley Road’s Zoom Top effort.

“He got stopped in his tracks and lost at least 10 lengths.

“I think he’s a chance to qualify and if he gets through and draws well, you won’t get $6 in the final. I got $10 ‘All In’ about him last year.”

“He wants to get to the front of the pack… He’s got good lungs.”

A 12-time Group race finalist, Stanley Road has won 19 races (with nine seconds and nine thirds) from 48 starts and $423,515 in prizemoney. He was also runner-up in the 2021 G1 Sandown Cup.

Stanley Road has started five times over 725m at The Meadows for two wins and a second, with a 42.15sec PB.

He’s owned by Edwin Kingswell who ‘grew up’ in Stanley Road, Darlinghurst. Hence the racing moniker.

Gatt says Stanley Road is “a dog that has a will to win”.

“He wants to get to the front of the pack… He’s got good lungs.

“And he’s a quiet, clever dog… He knows race day.”

Gatt trained Stanley Road’s dam, Piper Road, which only had five starts for three wins.

WATCH: Stanley Road (8) snares last year’s G1 TAB Fanta Bale Super Stayers.

“She had a big motor… I eventually gave her to breeder Toby Weekes and received one pup in exchange – Stanley Road.”

Once again, Little River husband-and-wife team Paul and Diane Bartolo are ‘caretakers’ for Stanley Road during his foray south.

“They’ve always shown a lot of interest in him and are real fans,” Gatt said.

“It’s like a holiday for him, they treat him so well. They swim him every second day and he always comes back to me refreshed.”

So, what’s the genesis of the Bartolo-Gatt greyhound racing relationship?

“We bought pups from the Bartolos out of litter sisters Betty’s Angel and Miss Mini Mouse which quinellaed the 2006 Melbourne Cup,” Gatt said.

“We’ve kept in close contact and have become great friends.”

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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