Ring The Bell will carry the hopes of Gippsland on his shoulders in the $107,250 Group 1 Gold 1242 Sale Cup (650m) on Boxing Day.
Trained at Neerim Junction by Gerard O’Keefe, Ring The Bell (pictured – box 7 courtesy Barb Radley photography) was the fastest of the four heat winners on Sunday night after surrendering an early lead before digging deep to score in 37.608sec.
“I am extremely proud to have a greyhound representing Gippsland in the Sale Cup. I’ve never trained a group winner and neither has Kelvin Jones, who co-trains Ring The Bell and all of my greyhounds,” O’Keefe said.
“Kelvin lives in Sale, and his family has lived in the town for about 80 years, so he is on cloud nine at the moment.”
Sale Greyhound Racing Club Manager, Des Dooley said having a genuine Gippsland greyhound in the Sale Cup was particularly special.
“I honestly couldn’t put a line through any of the dogs in the final, and whoever starts as favourite will probably be around the $4.00 mark. That’s how even it is” – DES DOOLEY
“There’s been a few greyhounds in the Cranbourne region that have won the Sale Cup, but I don’t really class those dogs as being from Gippsland,” Dooley said.
“The last greyhound to win this race that I’d class as a Gippsland-trained dog was Mantra Lad (2009), who was prepared at Catani by Graeme Jose, and another winner with a local connection was Linebacker (1993), whose owners were from Sale.”
Dooley said Saturday night’s final looks the most open in a long time.
“I honestly couldn’t put a line through any of the dogs in the final, and whoever starts as favourite will probably be around the $4.00 mark,” Dooley said.
“In every Sale Cup you can usually narrow the greyhounds with a genuine chance of winning the final prior to the heats down to only three or four greyhounds, but this year I honestly thought there were about 20 realistic chances.”
“Lady Toy has made eight Group 1 finals and won almost $400,000 in prize money, yet she will probably be the outsider of the field. That’s how even it is.”
$107,250 GROUP 1 GOLD 1242 SALE CUP (650M)
SATURDAY 26 DECEMBER, 8:45PM – $75,000 (1st); $21,500 (2nd); $10,750 (3rd)
1. COME ON FANTASY (Joe Borg, Maryborough)
2. LITHGOW PANTHER (Robert Britton, Lara)
3. RING THE BELL (Gerard O’Keefe, Neerim Junction)
4. BOURBSKI FEVER (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
5. NO DONUTS (Bradley Canty, Aberglasslyn NSW)
6. CHRICHTON BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang)
7. FULL ON BLING (John Westerlo, Clyde)
8. LADY TOY (James Psaila, Little River)
9. BELLS ARE RINGIN (Gerard O’Keefe, Neerim Junction)
10. SPRING TRAIL (James Ennis, Lara)
HEAT 1: Chrichton Bale (1) defeats Bourbski Fever (2) in 37.837sec REPLAY
HEAT 2: Ring The Bell (7) defeats Lady Toy (3) in 37.608sec (Best) REPLAY
HEAT 3: No Donuts (6) defeats Lithgow Panther (4) in 37.694sec REPLAY
HEAT 4: Come On Fantasy (6) defeats Full On Bling (3) in 37.926sec REPLAY