It could be an “enormous week” for Mount Wallace trainer Correy Grenfell, 26, and his young family after Yozo Bale secured tonight’s Group 2 BFC Ballarat Cup (450m).
He not only collected a $47,000 first prize but captured the G2 Bendigo Cup-Ballarat Cup double, becoming only the sixth greyhound to achieve the feat.
Yozo Bale is considered the Grenfells ‘second string’ behind superstar Tiggerlong Tonk, who lines up in his second successive G1 Hobart Thousand on Thursday night.
Ironically, Yozo Bale relegated Tiggerlong Tonk to second in the Bendigo Cup. He was also a G2 Geelong Gold Cup finalist. So, he’s obviously been sharing some of the limelight with his kennelmate.
Rocketing out of Box 1, Yozo Bale ($2.00F) was always in control defeating Special Talent ($4.20) by 2.71L, with Fortuna Bale ($10.40) a further 2.45L away third in 24.88sec.
Owned by Janice Wheeler, Yozo Bale (Mar ’18 Fernando Bale x Purcell Bale) notched his 18th win from 40 starts and his third win from four starts over 450m at Ballarat. It was also his 12th win from his past 22 starts.
There were lovely family scenes on the presentation dais with Grenfell being joined by wife Samantha and their four young children.
And a completely overawed Grenfell – who is now among the top echelon of trainers – was lost for words, except to say, “to make a Ballarat Cup is great, but to win it is amazing”.
James Van de Maat chimed in from the GRV Facebook live coverage, saying “the ‘red’ won him the cup, but he still had to ‘use’ the red”.
Grenfell’s words after Yozo Bale won his heat in the slowest time also proved prophetic. “He’s a dog that can break 25 seconds at Ballarat and 450 metres is ideal for him… He’s capable of breaking hearts early and if he’s out in front, he’ll be hard to catch.”
WATCH: YOZO BALE (1) began like a rocket and never gave his rivals a chance in tonight’s $67,000 Group 2 Ballarat Cup, defeating SPECIAL TALENT (8) and FORTUNA BALE (2) in 24.88sec.
Meanwhile, the ‘sideshow’ on a fantastic program was the Cup Night Match Race featuring Junk Food Junkie (Box 1) and Catch The Thief (Box 3), with both contestants having competed at G1 level.
Match racing is much more than a promotional gimmick. It’s an exciting format where ‘you can run, but you can’t hide’!
It was billed as an enthralling head-to-head, with the reward – apart from bragging rights – being a $10,000 winner-take-all purse.
And the race delivered in spades, with the Matt Clark-trained Catch The Thief ($1.10F) – nicknamed “Ghost” – clocking a 2.09L win over Junk Food Junkie ($3.10) in 24.92sec.
The betting suggested the Jessica Sharp-trained Junk Food Junkie didn’t stand a ‘ghost of a chance’. But such was the uncertainty of racing when she bounded out with a 2-3L lead early. However, one thing is certain, she’s ‘full of spirit’.
An eight-time group race finalist, Catch The Thief notched his 20th win from 37 starts and lifted his stakes to $175,155. He won the G2 WA Derby and G3 Warragul St Leger, was runner-up in the G1 Adelaide Cup and a finalist in the G1 Topgun and G1 Vic Peters Classic.
WATCH: JUNK FOOD JUNKIE (1) skips away to an early lead in the $10,000 winner-takes-all Cup Night Match Race before being reeled in by CATCH THE THIEF (3) in a sizzling 24.93sec.
Ballarat Cup night also saw the running of the Mandy ‘Mumma’ Shaw Memorial, a race open to Grade 5, 6 or 7 Victorian-bred female greyhounds with a 250+ ranking.
The $4,850 feature final was taken out by Quarantined, trained at Point Cook by Shane Millsom.
A much-loved member of the greyhound racing community, Mandy passed away in September following a battle with illness.
WATCH: QUARANTINED (2) showed plenty of dash when winning the Mandy ‘Mumma’ Shaw Memorial over CHARMED (3) and DAPH’S ECHO (8) in 25.36sec.