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Flying ‘Ferdinand’ wins Lightning Frank Derby

Photo by Daniel Thorogood.

Rising star Ferdinand Boy has only contested 22 races but is drawing early comparisons with his famous ‘uncle’ – 2018 G1 Melbourne Cup and 2018 G1 Harrison-Dawson winner, My Redeemer.

A five-time G1 finalist, My Redeemer won 25 races from 51 starts and $681,805 in stakes. He was also a 2019 G1 Australian Cup finalist – so, Ferdinand Boy is following in illustrious pawprints!

Trained by David Geall, Ferdinand Boy (Jan ’19 Fernando Bale x Nayla Swift) showed why he’s one of the hottest young prospects in the sport with a scintillating win in last night’s $7500-to-the-winner Lightning Frank Derby final (450m) at Warrnambool.

Exiting well from the ‘pink’ trap, Ferdinand Boy ($2.90) showed explosive pace to the first turn and speared away for an effortless 4.2L win over the fast-finishing Shima Jake ($5.10), with Blackpool Flash ($2.60F) a further 1.2L away third in a sizzling 24.81sec (Best). He was only 1.5L off Unlawful Entry’s 24.72sec track record, set on April 27, 2016.

Ferdinand Boy also sliced 2.5L off his 24.96sec (Best) heat performance. He’s now won 12 races – including eight of his past 10 starts – and is four from five over 450m at Warrnambool. It was also his fifth win in six starts from Box 8.

WATCH: Ferdinand Boy (8) clocks a sizzling 24.81sec win in the Lightning Frank Derby at Warrnambool last night.

Owned and bred by Geall’s wife, Rose, Ferdinand Boy (who only started racing in late July last year) also won connections a $1000 VicGreys bonus and a free straw to stud dog Lightning Frank.

“We’ve found with this line that when they’re challenged, they go harder,” Geall said. “He’s a keen chaser, and he’s settled down a little bit in the boxes… He’s shaping as a serious one-bend dog.”

Geall says Ferdinand Boy is “probably a little bit quicker” than My Redeemer and his ‘aunty’ Up Hill Jill – also raced by the Gealls – for the first 400 metres at their respective ages.

“They have similar racing traits, but we knew early on that My Redeemer was very strong,” he said. “There’s a bit of difference in relation to stamina.”

Ferdinand Boy’s immediate racing itinerary will take in the Western Districts Derby at Ballarat, followed by “possibly a look at a country cup”, and then the Maitland Cup.

Pawnote: Ferdinand Boy’s dam, Nayla Swift (by Westmead Osprey), along with My Redeemer (by Fernando Bale) and Up Hill Jill (by Premier Fantasy), are all out of brood matron Where’s Demonica.

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About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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