In what has been a tumultuous year for the greyhound racing industry, fortunately, and thank heavens for it, there has been one shining light.
At the beginning of 2015, Fernando Bale had a race record of four starts for two wins (a Maiden and a Grade 5 race) and two unplaced efforts. Fast forward to today and his CV reads out at; 39 starts for 32 wins and 4 placing; eight Group 1 victories; two Group 2 wins; and one Group 3 title.
His total prizemoney to date is a world record…$1,156,110.
His earnings are staggering to say the least but it his race record that has seen Fernando Bale receive the acclamation he so rightly deserves and he is now regarded as one of the all-time greats of greyhound racing.
This Friday night at Sandown Park, Fernando Bale will start from box 1 in his heat of the G1 TAB Melbourne Cup and is currently quoted at $1.20 with TAB.com.au Fixed Odds to race his way into the final on November 20 with the opportunity to add another $420,000 to his earnings in what may well be his last ever race track appearance before he retires to stud.
I’ve been around the racing game for far too long to know that there is no such thing as a race track certainty but I will tell you this…Fernando Bale is the closest thing you will ever get to that and plenty of punters will be happy to earn the 20% interest for a ride that will last around 29 seconds.
To my mind, this Friday night is actually the best night of greyhound racing all year.
There are eight heats of the Melbourne Cup featuring Australia’s best sprinters while the cream of our long distance chasers will do battle in four heats of the G1 Bold Trease, with the first and second placegetters getting a chance to win the $145,000 first prize the following week.
Unfortunately, two of our most talented sprinters, Kayda Shae and Dalgetty, have been struck by injury at precisely the wrong time and will miss the Cup, however, the fields are star-studded and with the exception of Fernando Bale, offer plenty of value for punters.
Check out the full TAB.com.au market for Friday night's Melbourne Cup and Bolt Trease heats here.
Above All ($2.50 in his heat) is a dual Group 1 winning chaser who has been beset with injuries in recent times but if you are an omen punter consider this…in last year’s Melbourne Cup heats on November 13, Above All started from box 5 in race 1 and won his heat in the time of 29.38 – one year later, on the exact same date, the son of Magic Sprite is again in the first race and will again wear the yellow rug.
The talented Dyna Double One ($2.90) who has raced in the shadows of his more illustrious kennelmate Fernando Bale throughout his career, has finally drawn a favourable box and will jump from box 2 in race 5 – his record from that trap is four starts for four wins and I think he can win his way into the final.
As you would expect, you could make a case for a number of runners in each heat including recent G1 Hume Cup winner Secret Spell (Race 6 Box 4); crack WA sprinter Tureaud (Race 8 number 6); Melbourne Cup Prelude winner Zipping Meg (Race 11 box 3) and the very smart Blazin’ Bomber (Race 12 box 6).
The G1 Bold Trease series has been blown wide open with the news that champion stayer, Sweet It Is, has come on season and has been retired from racing immediately.
The daughter of Mogambo and Off Springer was looking to create more history in her illustrious career by becoming the first greyhound to win the G1 National Distance Championship, the G1 Sandown Cup and the G1 Bold Trease in successive years.
Owner, Braden Finn, is now deciding whether to use a straw of deceased, former champion sire, Bombastic Shiraz, or whether he goes for an outcross, with Irish sire, Kinloch Brae, at the top of that list.
Off the back of a brilliant 41.34 win at Sandown Park at her last start, South Australian chaser Luna Jinx will be the testing material in race 3; Bourbski Fever will now start favourite in race 4 with the scratching of Sweet It IS, while the other two heats (races’ 9 and 10) are extremely open affairs with multiple chances on paper. First and second from each heat of the G1 Bold Trease will take part in the $145,000 to the winner final next Friday
I’ll be trackside at Sandown Park this Friday night from 7pm (AEDT) to bring you all the action of the G1 TAB Melbourne Cup and the G1 Bold Trease heats on Sky Racing 1 (Ch519) and don’t forget to tune into Sky Racing 2 (Ch520) this Sunday at 11.30am where I’ll be hosting a special 30 minute presentation as we conduct the box draws for both of these prestigious events.
Good luck and good punting
G3 - The Bet365 Classic Trial (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (class 1)
G2 - The Bet365 Mile (class 1)
TG1 - Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hdle
Grade A - Punchestown Novice H'cap Chase