The best-bred greyhound in action at The Meadows – or anywhere in Australia for that matter – on Saturday night is undoubtedly Hill Top Jack, a regally bred son of champion sire Fernando Bale and multiple Group 1 winner Up Hill Jill.
Trained by Lara-based owner/breeder Dave Geall, who guided Up Hill Jill to Group 1 glory in the Topgun and Golden Easter Egg, Hill Top Jack will be chasing his third win from four starts in race 2, to jump at 7.04pm.
“He’s a nice young dog,” said Geall.
“He’s not overly strong at this stage but he’s a very hard chaser and he’s started to quicken up with a bit of early pace. He’s improved his first and second section by a couple of lengths.
“He’s drawn very well on Saturday and he’s becoming reliable out of the boxes so I think he should lead and I expect him to run a good race.
“He’s trialled a few lengths quicker at The Meadows than he’s gone in races. He’s trialled 30.16s and won there in 30.29s. I think the track was a little bit off when he ran 30.39s.”
While Geall gives Hill Top Jack an excellent chance to complete a Meadows hat-trick, he says he isn’t the standout in Up Hill Jill’s first litter.
“A dog called Koblenz is the fastest but we’re waiting for him to show it,” Geall explained.
“He’s a fast dog and is very similar to another dog I train called Ferdinand Boy, which is a very fast one-turn dog. Ferdinand Boy has won 10 from 20 and ran 24.97s at Ballarat recently.
“They’re very closely related; both being by Fernando Bale, while Ferdinand Boy’s mother Nayla Swift is a half-sister to Up Hill Jill, with both being out of Where’s Demonica.
“Koblenz has only won one race at Warrnambool in good time (25.51s) but he’s as good as Ferdinand Boy. He’s still a bit green and we’re just waiting for him to snap out of it.”
When Up Hill Jill was retired after the 2018 Melbourne Cup heats, having won 38 races and banked $884,561 in prizemoney, Geall and wife Rose had no hesitation selecting Fernando Bale to sire her first litter.
It appeared a match made in heaven, with Fernando Bale’s mating with Where’s Demonica, Up Hill Jill’s dam, producing 2018 Melbourne Cup winner My Redeemer; however Geall concedes it hasn’t lived up to the enormous expectations.
“We’re having fun and we’re happy that they’ve won a number of races but it hasn’t gelled how it looked like it would on paper,” Geall offered honestly.
“There were 10 in the litter and nine have raced. We believe all nine will win and we’ve only got two to go.
“It was a no brainer to go to Fernando Bale at the time. With Fernando Bale being a very strong 500m dog and Up Hill Jill being a true 500m Group bitch we were hoping to get 500m dogs.
“Five of the litter broke-in real fast – and they did break-in fast – but four of the five can only run 400m to 450m.
“But that’s breeding and we’ve got Up Hill Jill’s next litter by Barcia Bale, which is 10 months old, and I would say she’ll be going to Kinloch Brae around Easter time.
“We’re determined to prove that a champion bitch can throw a champion dog but whether it happens remains to be seen!”
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