With his faultless box manners and imposing record at the Glebe circuit, Fernando Bale has been installed as a $2.30 favourite with TAB.com.au for this Saturday's G1 Golden Easter Egg final at Wentworth Park.
The son of Kelso's Fusilier will have to overcome the extreme outside draw to land the $250,000 first prize for Team Dailly and Team Wheeler but you'd be a brave punter to suggest he couldn't do it.
His record at Wenty, as well as every other track that he has raced at, is first class, but rarely have punters been fortunate enough to see a greyhound 'nail' the start the way Fernando does at what must now be regarded his 'home track'.
Kennel rep., Tom Dailly, told me on Sky Racing straight after Saturday night's semi-final victory, that Fernando Bale has been a dog that just keeps on improving.
"He had good early pace when he first came into training but then he missed it the first couple of race starts that he had and I didn't know what to make of it, but since then, he's just got better and better at timing the jump - I just hope he doesn't decide to miss it in the final next week." said Dailly.
Fernando Bale has timed the start to perfection in virtually every one of his starts at Wentworth Park and has registered first section splits of 5:27, 5:30, 5:31 and 5:32 - The one night he did miss it was in the final of the National Derby from box 7 when he clocked a 5:46 first split, but with a number of greyhounds striking trouble at the first turn in that race, he was able to accelerate through the bend, take the lead down the back straight and race away to win the Group 1 feature in early February.
Our speed map has Fernando Bale leading at the first turn, even allowing for the poor record that box 8 has in feature races at the venue.
The G1 Golden Easter Egg is set to jump at 10:08pm (AEDT). Check the full TAB.com.au market here.
There is plenty of pace drawn directly underneath him but this is expected to make the race for him in the early stages. Dyna Nico (box 5) also begins well at Wenty and is expected to head to the fence after box rise; Recruitment (box 6) virtually led at the first turn of the G1 Australian Cup before being turned sideways and again led in his semi-final on Saturday night from the inside box and Ronray Spirit (box 7) is a very reliable beginner who also wants to head to the fence.
Of those drawn inside Dyna Nico ($8), their chances of victory will be sealed in the first 40 - 50 metres. Dawkins Bale ($4.50) is average early; Zipping Midge ($21) can reel off a low 5:30's but wants to get wide at the first turn which means that Over Limit (box 3) needs to beat both of the dogs drawn underneath him to the fence to have any chance for victory, while Dyna Double One ($7) looks to be one of the last out of the boxes but is one of probably only two greyhounds who could come from behind to win the race if he got clear running and was in touch with the leaders down the back straight.
Notwithstanding the fact that he may be near enough to last at the first turn, I'm banking on the brilliant youngster Dyna Double One to cause a massive upset and win the 2015 Golden Easter Egg.
With the third and fourth fastest times ever recorded at The Meadows in his CV, I think he is 'cherry ripe' for this race after racing at Wenty on three previous occasions and he is a greyhound that possesses brilliant mid-race pace and a extremely strong finish.
I go back to his run in the G1 Silver Chief Classic in January this year when he was struck bother just out of the boxes and again at the first turn, yet he still showed amazing tenacity to be a closing third on the line behind Above All and Dyna Villa.
I know he doesn't have the brilliant early pace of a Fernando Bale, Dyna Nico or Ronray Spirit but I'm near enough certain that he has the fastest and strongest finish of any greyhound in the race.
My tips in the G1 Golden Easter Egg are; 4) Dyna Double One. 3) Over Limit. 8) Fernando Bale and 6) Recruitment.
I’ll be live trackside at Wentworth Park on Saturday night but you can catch all the action from 6.30pm on Sky Racing 1 (Channel 519)
G1 - The Bet365 Celebration Steeple Chase (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)
G1 - Aes Champion 4yo Hdle
Grade B - Setanta Sport H'cap Hdle
Grade B - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe H'cap Chase