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Red-hot Ruby

The Britton name is synonymous with the flagship Super Stayers series and all-time great stayer, Fanta Bale.

A master conditioner of distance exponents, Lara’s Robert Britton, 66, won the event with Fanta Bale (2018) and Here’s Tears. He also finished runner-up in successive years with Gunnadoo Magic (2008-09) and third with Space Star (2015).

In 2019, it was renamed the ‘Fanta Bale Super Stayers’ in honour of the nine-time G1 winner which won 42 races from 63 starts and is Australian greyhound racing’s highest earner ($1,365,175).

Fanta Bale is also a dual Australian GOTY (2017 & 2018) and Victorian GOTY (2017 & 2018) and a GRV Hall of Fame inductee.

But it’s Britton’s younger brother Jeff, 59, who once again could get his ‘42 seconds of fame’ and join his older sibling as a two-time winner of the race.

He won with Star Recall in 2016 and was runner-up with True Detective in 2020.

Based at Anakie, Britton has Mepunga Ruby (Box 4) in the $100,000 to-the-winner Group 1 TAB Fanta Bale Super Stayers final (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

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

Mepunga Ruby was a $3.50 ‘All In’ favourite for the final prior to the heats but has been crunched into $1.70. Her nearest rivals in betting are Overflow Lisa (Box 1) and Micks Recall (Box 6) – both at $6.

A five-time G1 finalist, Mepunga Ruby ‘sparkled’ with a powerful 42.45sec (Best) heat win.

Mepunga Ruby ($1.40F) defeated Overflow Lisa ($9.20) by 3.4L, with Here’s Tears ($34.30) – which was contesting his third consecutive Super Stayers series – a further 1.6L away third.

She notched her 18th win from 31 races and her fourth from seven over 725m at The Meadows.

“This is her best chance to win a Group 1, although the box draw isn’t fantastic,” Britton said. “However, she’s one of the more experienced stayers in the race.”

Mepunga Ruby (Mar ’19 Fernando Bale x Mepunga Rosie) came ‘close but no cigar’ late last year in a couple of G1s – Sale Cup (2nd) and Bold Trease (3rd).

But Britton also issued a disclaimer on Victoria’s ‘staying sweetheart’.

“She likes to get into a ‘comfort zone’ and doesn’t like rivals cutting across her.”

“It always depends on what’s drawn beside her as she likes a little bit of room to move.

“She likes to get into a ‘comfort zone’ and doesn’t like rivals cutting across her.”

Britton added Mepunga Ruby – owned by legendary Mepunga East breeder, Barry Smith – was “going as good as ever”.

“She just needs a bit of luck. If she gets a clear run, I believe she’s the one to beat as she has the times on the board.”

Mepunga Ruby is a champion on the racetrack. But what is she like at home?

“She’s beautiful,” Britton said. “She’s a little ‘pocket rocket’ and full of herself.

“She’s bold and thinks she’s the boss!”

WATCH: Mepunga Ruby (4) sets the Fanta Bale Super Stayers heats time standard in a ‘sparkling’ 42.45sec.

2022 FANTA BALE SUPER STAYERS FINAL (725m)
Saturday 26 February – First prize $100,000

  1. OVERFLOW LISA (Robert Camilleri, Lara VIC)
  2. ORCA (Steve Nagy, Traralgon VIC)
  3. FLYING LANTERN (Tim Britton, Lara VIC)
  4. MEPUNGA RUBY (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
  5. FERNANDO’S QUEST (Michelle Mallia, Avalon VIC)
  6. MICKS RECALL (Jamie Hosking, Churchable QLD)
  7. SIR TRUCULENT (Walter Harkins, Jervois SA)
  8. BECK’S MONELLI (Robert Camilleri, Lara VIC)

Reserves

  1. HERE’S TEARS (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
  2. DRAKO BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)

HEAT WINNERS
(Fastest to slowest)

  • 42.45sec Mepunga Ruby
  • 42.67sec Micks Recall
  • 42.69sec Orca
  • 42.80sec Fernando’s Quest

The content on this page was accurate at the time of publishing. If you notice any inaccurate content on this page or anywhere on the website, please report it here

About 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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