It was no illusion… The great Houdini Boy easily ‘unlocked the shackles’ in tonight’s heats of the Group 1 Gold 98.3 FM Sale Cup (650m). Wow, what a grand opening to Gippsland’s ‘Festival of Racing’, which will continue with the Group 1 Sale Cup Final on Boxing Day.
Known as a last-to-first ‘escape artist’ earlier in his career, Houdini Boy ‘handcuffed’ his rivals with a magical display in Heat 1.
Trained by Kelvyn Greenough, Houdini Boy (Mar ’18 Zambora Brockie x Pechey) clocked a sensational 36.78sec – around two lengths off the 36.67sec track record, set by Burn One Down in July 2017.
Houdini Boy ($1.30F) notched his 12th win from 23 starts defeating Arizona Boy ($4.20) by a massive 7.8L. It was his eighth win from his past 12 starts.
Last month, Houdini Boy finished third in the G1 Bold Trease (715m) at Sandown, and in September he won the G3 Speed Star (600m) at The Meadows prior to finishing second to Tornado Tears in the G3 Top Cat Video Cup (725m) at The Meadows.
Houdini Boy was TAB’s $3.00 ‘All In’ favourite to take out the rich Sale Cup final on Boxing Day.
He’s now firmed into $1.80 favourtism.
HEAT 1: HOUDINI BOY (1) scores a workmanlike victory over ARIZONA EYES (6) in 36.78sec.
Highly underrated I’m Easy Boys ($5.80) toppled “Mr Versatile” and G1 Hume Cup winner Last Hurrah ($1.70F) – who was chasing his ninth win from his past 13 starts – by 1.4L in Heat 2.
Prepared by Ray Henness, I’m Easy Boys (Jul ’17 My Bro Fabio x Fancy Mojo) improved considerably timewise on his previous two Sale 650m runs in recording 37.06sec. It was his 18th win from 71 starts.
Last year, I’m Easy Boys finished third to superstar Simon Told Helen in the G3 Great Chase (525m) at The Meadows.
HEAT 2: I’M EASY BOYS (4) gets the better of front-runner LAST HURRAH (2) in 37.06sec.
In Heat 3, Bobby The Brute ($4.90) stormed home to blouse Weblec Ace ($1.90F) by 0.4L in 37.13sec.
Trained by Brendan Pursell, Bobby The Brute (Jan ’18 KC And All x She’s Scandalous) registered his ninth win from 38 starts. But his race stats belie his true ability, given he was runner-up to Simon Told Helen in the G2 Geelong Gold Cup (520m) in October.
HEAT 3: BOBBY THE BRUTE (3) scores a sensational come-from-behind win over WEBLEC ACE (7) in 37.13ec.
Powerhouse Christo Bale ($1.60F) got up in the last stride to defeat WA star Zack Monelli ($7.80) in Heat 4. He scored by 0.5L in a flying 36.92sec and notched his 19th win from 45 starts.
Prepared by Mark Delbridge, Christo Bale (Jan ’18 Barcia Bale x Houston Bale) is undefeated from three starts over 650m at Sale – including last week’s Sale Distance Championship.
Christo Bale’s stellar race CV includes wins in the G2 McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown and G3 Speed Star (525m) at The Meadows. He also finished second in the G1 Hume Cup (600m) at The Meadows and G3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m) at Sandown, and third in the G1 Topgun (525m) at The Meadows and G3 Shootout (515m) at Sandown.
Now a four-time G1 finalist, Christo Bale was $4.00 second elect, behind Houdini Boy, for the Sale Cup final prior to the heats.
Gippsland’s ‘Festival of Racing’ runs from December to February and also features the Group 2 Warragul Cup and Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. And half a million dollars is up for grabs!
HEAT 4: CHRISTO BALE (3) pulled out all the stops to defeat WA lamplighter ZACK MONELLI (7) in 36.92ec.
2020 GROUP 1 SALE CUP
Saturday night 26 December
1. ARIZONA EYES (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
2. CHRISTO BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
3. ZACK MONELLI (David Hobby, Nambeelup WA)
4. BOBBY THE BRUTE (Brendan Pursell, Lara VIC)
5. HOUDINI BOY (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
6. LAST HURRAH (Brett Nye, Little River VIC)
7. WEBLEC ACE (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
8. I’M EASY BOYS (Raymond Henness, Heathcote VIC)
9. SECRETS UNTOLD (Peter Schofield, Devon Meadows VIC)
10. BURN TIME (Keith Hellmuth, Pearcedale VIC)
HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest):
36.78sec Houdini Boy
36.92sec Christo Bale
37.06sec I’m Easy Boys
37.13sec Bobby The Brute