Fresh from winning the Group 1 Perth Cup last Saturday, Correy Grenfell is hoping to maintain the rage with country cups specialist Yozo Bale in Friday night’s Group 2 Geelong Gold Cup final (520m).
Yozo Bale, joint $3.30 favourite in TAB’s Geelong Cup market, won the G2 Bendigo and G2 Ballarat cups last year and young Anakie trainer Grenfell, 27, believes he’s an excellent chance of adding his hometown Cup to his impressive collection.
“I think he’s a massive chance,” Grenfell said.
“He didn’t really nail the start in his heat but he still ran the second fastest first section.
“He did his pre-training at Geelong so he knows his way around there with his eyes closed!”
Grenfell is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky at Geelong, after being narrowly beaten with star duo Orson Allen (2nd) and Tiggerlong Tonk (3rd) in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
Yozo Bale, a son of Fernando Bale and Purcell Bale, a half-sister to champion sire Barcia Bale, also qualified for last year’s Geelong Cup, held in its previous October timeslot, but injured hock ligaments when finishing at the tail of the field behind Simon Told Helen.
After a nine-race winless streak, dating back to January, Yozo Bale won the Ballarat Cup Consolation in a flying 24.86sec and then went back-to-back with a dominant all-the-way 29.80sec victory in his Geelong Cup heat last Friday.
He was shaded for qualifying honours by Jeff Britton’s Weblec Jet’s 29.77sec.
Yozo Bale (Box 3) and Weblec Jet (Box 4) share favouritism for the final; however Grenfell rates Weblec Jet’s half-brother Weblec Ace (Box 1) as his greatest threat.
WATCH: Yozo Bale (2) leads all the way, clocking a sparkling 29.80sec, in a G2 Geelong Gold Cup heat last week.
“We beat Weblec Jet in the Ballarat Cup Consolation and I think the main danger is Weblec Ace; it’s as strong as a bull,” Grenfell offered.
“Yozo Bale is the same as ‘Tonk’. He’s always racing against the best but he did go off a little bit.
“He broke a hock at a young age and it caught up with us from when he won the Bendigo Cup but the last five weeks or so he’s been pulling up as well as he ever has and he’s getting back to the fitness he had when he was winning the cups last year.
“He ran a PB at Ballarat in the Cup Consolation, which shows you how good this dog is going.
“He is a 450m dog. If you look at his form, except for running second in the Temlee, he doesn’t really have much city form, although he did run 29.28sec at Sandown.”
Grenfell is still on a high after Tiggerlong Tonk smashed his G1 hoodoo at his 10<sup>th</sup> attempt with a memorable last-gasp Perth Cup triumph, ending a frustrating run of near-misses and providing a huge boost to a potential stud career.
“Finally!” Grenfell said.
“I did get a bit emotional after the race, which never happens to me. It was just relief.
“It showed how great a chaser he is and he was a bit flat afterwards. It’s actually the tiredest I’ve ever seen him.
“The Warrnambool Cup heats are on next week (Thursday, April 29) but at this stage he won’t be going there.
“I’ll make a decision at the end of the week and if he’s back to his usual self we’ll think about it but at this stage it’s a no. He’s definitely heading towards the Harrison-Dawson.”