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Vale Poke The Bear

Poke The Bear, one of Australia’s greatest sprinters in recent memory, has succumbed to cancer at just five years of age.

The son of Fernando Bale and Nicki Fields was part of an all-conquering litter which included Out Of Range and Fully Loaded, while he was also a half-brother to the electrifying Hooked On Scotch.

Bred and owned by Victorian father-son team Darren and Michael Puleio and trained by Seona Thompson, Poke The Bear retired in 2019 with 37 wins from 69 starts and over half a million dollars in prize money.

“It is with a heavy heart I would like to announce that our much loved champion Fred (aka Poke The Bear) lost his battle with cancer last night,” a devastated Darren Puleio posted on Facebook this morning.

WATCH: Poke The Bear (6) comes from midfield to win the 2018 G1 TAB Topgun by a whopping six lengths at The Meadows.

“He was more than a race dog to us, he was a pet, a friend and an absolute gentleman.”

“He along with his brother and sisters have done so much for our family and all those involved in his tremendous career.”

“You will forever be in our hearts and remain one of the best ever. Miss you buddy.”

Remarkably, Poke The Bear’s three biggest wins – the Topgun, Traralgon Cup & Silver Bullet – all came from Box 6 – while he also proved to be an accomplished 600m chaser, winning numerous races in town over middle distances.

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