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Sandown Park track record is cowering for cover

 May 13 2015

He is without a doubt Australia’s number one sprinter and at Sandown Park this Thursday night Fernando Bale will be out to claim his third Group 1 race of 2015.

Having previously won the G1 National Derby and G1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, Fernando Bale is fast approaching cult-like status with a legion of racing fans and punters due to his extraordinary ability to ‘time the jump’ to perfection.

In his heat of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson last week, Fernando Bale literally flew through the first section to equal the record of 4.90 seconds before hurtling down the back straight in 17.40, just 0.02 seconds off his own second split record, before eventually stopping the clock at 28.98, just 2 100th’s outside the 515m track record held by Bekim Bale.

I wrote last week that waiting for Fernando Bale to ‘miss the start’ is now akin to someone waiting for real estate prices to fall – seven days on, and nothing I’ve seen has changed my mind except for the fact that I think Sydney housing prices are closer to falling than Fernando is to missing the start.

With a race record of 21 starts for 16 wins and 2 minor placings (he was unplaced at his first two race starts) and more than $417,000 in earnings, what’s even more amazing is that Fernando Bale is just 26 months of age and many experts will tell you that most greyhounds rarely reach their peak until they are 2 ½ years of age – most greyhounds that is because like any sport or racing code, champions are always exceptions to the rule and this greyhound is fast approaching that often maligned and prematurely labelled tag.

Such is his domination of racing at the moment, Fixed Odds price assessors have installed the son of Kelso’s Fusileer a $1.15 favourite to win the Harrison-Dawson, the shortest price pre-post favourite for a Group 1 greyhound event in history but hardly surprising given that he has now won thirteen of his past fourteen starts and has drawn the coveted inside box for the final.

The track record is not just under threat it is cowering for cover!

In greyhound racing terminology, one length is equal to around 0.066 of a second (16 lengths = 1 second) and three starts back, Fernando Bale registered 29.10 at Sandown Park; one week later he ran 29.04; last week 28.98 – it’s not hard to spot the emerging pattern is it?

As a punter, I learnt my lesson the hard way with Fernando Bale.

I tipped against him in the Golden Easter Egg final when he drew box 8 because I ‘thought’ he wouldn’t be able to cross the field in the run to the first turn – last week, I was happy to take the $1.40 fixed odds!

It’s pointless tipping anything to beat him in his current vein of form and the race is quite easy to imagine – Fernando Bale leads and wins…it’s as simple as that.  

  The G1 Harrison-Dawson is race 8 at Sandown Park tomorrow night and Fernando Bale is scheduled to jump at 9.35pm (AEST).

It promises to be a superb night of greyhound racing action with heats of the Group 1 Sandown Cup over 715m, the world’s richest staying event, as well as the final of the Group 1 Sapphire Crown (Race 6 – 8.52pm).

Also worth $100,000 to the victor, if Angie Rocks ($2.70 with is able to stay in touch with the leaders down the back straight I think she will be too strong in the Sapphire Crown although I do have a very healthy respect for Lamia Bale ($4), while in the Sandown Cup heats, all eyes will be on former top chaser Sweet It Is in race 4 and Australia’s current staying sensation, Space Star in race 7 (9.12pm), who like Fernando Bale, has a superb race record with wins at ten of his past eleven starts and earnings of nearly $450,000.  


I’ll be trackside to bring you all the action on Sky Racing1 (Channel 519) on a night where we may see greyhound racing history created – you would be brave to suggest it wouldn’t!

Good luck and good punting!

Mark Duclos - Sky Racing

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