Robert Britton is confident Blazing Cartier can continue his remarkable run in Sandown staying features when she lines up in the RSN Sandown Cup on Thursday night.
Britton has won two of the last three RSN Sandown Cups with two of the greatest stayers in modern history – Fanta Bale in 2017 and Tornado Tears in 2018 – however his recent success runs beyond the Sandown Cup. Britton trained runners have won six of the last seven group 1 races conducted over 715m at the circuit, cementing his reputation as one of the country’s premier conditioner of stayers.
Britton believes that reputation, rather than any secret training techniques, are the reason for that success.
“If you have a bit of success in distance racing you tend to get offered dogs that are bred to stay,” Britton said.
“Quite often the phone call comes and it’s for a greyhound from a staying line rather than a sprinting line. I traditionally work all of my dogs hard, but I don’t do anything differently. The stayers tend to be naturally clean winded, probably because of their breeding, but my gut feel is that a lot of dogs that could stay but we never get the opportunity.”
Blazing Cartier is one such clean winded greyhound. Still a month shy of her third birthday, she has already logged 30 starts over the staying journey and has built an imposing record over the trip, particularly at Sandown Park. From 11 appearances over 715m, she has won five and been placed in five others, the only time she has missed out on prize money coming when running fifth to kennelmate Tornado Tears in the 2019 group 1 Bold Trease.
She turned in one of the runs of her career in last week’s heats, defying her regular racing pattern by beginning quickly before wearing down and out-staying series favourite Mister Harlewood. It was a performance that pleased Britton and one that he was confident of reproducing in Thursday night’s final.
“I was quietly confident (ahead of the heats). She loves Sandown and I was hoping that if she could be forward early she could serve it right up to him and that’s how it worked out.
“She should get a clear enough run from box 2 but it’s where she settles that will determine whether she can win or not. She can get out of the boxes well but lacks a bit of early dash and can get shuffled back early. She’ll have plenty left when they turn for home – I’m just hoping she can lob in the first two or three.”
The Britton family has had considerable success in the Sandown Cup. As well as Robert’s two wins, both his sister Linda and father Alan also feature on the honour roll. However a Sandown Cup victory has proven elusive for younger brother Jeff, who despite preparing numerous finalists over his long career, has yet to taste success in the country’s premier race for stayers.
Britton believes that his brother has an excellent chance of a break through Sandown Cup victory, rating Jeff’s runner True Detective as the greyhound to beat in the in the $50,000 to the winner final.
“I think he has a very good chance to tell you the truth. He’s very well boxed with the dogs around him so in my mind he’s the one to beat.
“We’re a very competitive family but we all work well together. We all like to win, but if I can’t I hope he can.”