You can’t beat local knowledge… And that aphorism rang true at ‘Beckley Park’ tonight.
The G2 Geelong Cup heats (520m) produced a night of upsets, but country cups champ Yozo Bale led a bonanza for locally trained greyhounds.
In fact, all eight finalists in next Friday’s $50,000 to-the-winner Cup final are from the Geelong region, as are the two reserves.
Trained at Anakie by young prodigy Correy Grenfell, 27, Yozo Bale – winner of last year’s G2 Bendigo Cup and G2 Ballarat Cup – is now chasing his third country cup victory.
Contesting Heat 4, Yozo Bale ($2.70F) led from go to whoa for an effortless 3.4L win over Tom The Cheap ($21.30), with Aston Silk ($3.90) a further 3.6L away third in 29.80sec.
He was also a finalist in last year’s Geelong Gold Cup, finishing eighth to ill-fated champion Simon Told Helen, while kennelmate Tiggerlong Tonk finished third. (Grenfell also finished second with former champion Orson Allen in the 2018 Geelong Gold Cup.)
And back in mid-February, Yozo Bale finished runner-up to NSW start Wow in the G1 Temlee at The Meadows.
It’s sure to be a huge 24 hours for Grenfell who has Tiggerlong Tonk engaged in tomorrow night’s $150,000 to-the-winner G1 Perth Cup at Cannington.
Jeff Britton, also from Anakie, will launch a two-pronged challenge in the final courtesy of fastest heat winner Weblec Jet (Heat 5) and his older half-brother Weblec Ace (Heat 1).
Weblec Jet ($4.50) defeated Well Grounded ($11.80) by 3.2L, with Qwara Bale ($4.30) a further 3.6L away third in 29.77sec (Best).
He was a National Derby finalist in January and runner-up in last year’s G3 Warragul St Leger.
Now a nine-time Group race finalist, Weblec Ace ($8.00) defeated the fast-finishing Sweet As Emm ($3.90) by 1.2L, with the tiring Aussie Secret ($7.30) a further 0.4L away third in 30.01sec. G1 Australian Cup finalist Shima Classic ($1.90F) – a younger half-sister of superstar Shima Shine – finished seventh, beaten 11L.
Weblec Ace also won last year’s G3 Sir John Dillon Memorial at Sandown Park and 2019 G3 Cranbourne Classic. He was also a finalist in last year’s G1 Sale Cup and this year’s G1 Rookie Rebel at The Meadows.
Lara-based Tim Britton landed Heat 3 with Carry On Angel ($7.10) who held off a gallant Barooga Smoke ($1.60F) by 1L, with Lots Of Chatter ($21.90) a further 1.7L away third in 29.99sec.
Revenge was sweet for Carry On Angel who finished third to Barooga Smoke in the G3 Easter Gift (515m) at Sandown Park on April 1.
And Avalon’s Jessica Sharp secured Heat 2 with Junk Food Junkie.
Junk Food Junkie ($3.60) accounted for Mepunga Warrior ($6.20) by 1.3L, with Jax Bale ($3.30) a further 0.4L away third in 30.13sec. Jim Zarr Dashian ($3.20F) was tailed off.
A finalist in last year’s G1 National Futurity at Wentworth Park and G3 Cup Night Sprint (3rd) at Sandown Park, Junk Food Junkie has now won three of her past four starts.
The three fastest second placegetters to qualify for the final were Well Grounded – 30.00sec (Matt Lanigan, Anakie); Tom The Cheap – 30.04sec (Rebecca Gibbons, Avalon); and Barooga Smoke – 30.07sec (Brett Nye, Little River).
HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest):
- 29.77sec Weblec Jet
- 29.80sec Yozo Bale
- 29.99sec Carry On Angel
- 30.01sec Weblec Ace
- 30.13sec Junk Food Junkie
2021 GEELONG GOLD CUP
Friday 23 April
$50,000 (1st); $13,335 (2nd); $6,665 (3rd)
- WEBLEC ACE (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
- BAROOGA SMOKE (Brett Nye, Little River)
- YOZO BALE (Correy Grenfell, Anakie)
- WEBLEC JET (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
- WELL GROUNDED (Matthew Lanigan, Anakie)
- JUNK FOOD JUNKIE (Jessica Sharp, Avalon)
- TOM THE CHEAP (Rebecca Gibbons, Avalon)
- CARRY ON ANGEL (Tim Britton, Lara)
9 SWEET AS EMM (Brendan Pursell, Lara)
10 MEPUNGA WARRIOR (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
Photos by Clint Anderson
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