Pre-post favourite Shima Shine stole the show in eight cut-throat heats of the Group 2 Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Cup (450m) held on Thursday night, returning to his brilliant best with a near-record performance.
Trained by three-time Warrnambool Cup winner Andrea Dailly, Shima Shine’s last win had come in the G2 Horsham Cup Final on March 6, having subsequently been beaten at odds-on favourtism in heats of the Golden Easter Egg, Ballarat Cup and Perth Cup.
The dual Group 1 winner again started $2 favourite in heat three at his first appearance at Warrnambool since May 2020 and it was a matter of time and margins when he was best to begin from box two.
Shima Shine spreadeagled his rivals, defeating Got The Torque by 3.91 lengths in a scintillating 24.76s, less than a length outside Unlawful Entry’s 24.719s track record established in the 2016 Cup heats.
Despite drawing box five in next Wednesday night’s final Shima Shine will start a warm favourite, with the $4.80 offered in ‘All In’ betting looking luxurious.
Aside from Shima Shine it was a nightmare for favourites, with Ballarat and Shepparton Cup winner Ferdinand Boy among the big name casualties.
Having won his last six starts, Ferdinand Boy started $1.60 favourite in the sixth heat but wasn’t able to repel the powerful finishing burst of Jeff Britton’s Do It ($5.80), gunned down in the shadows of the post in 25.16s.
Sean Lithgow is hoping it will be third time lucky in a country cup final for Dream Wizard, which finished unplaced in the Ballarat Cup last December and Warragul Cup in January, after he was an all-the-way winner of the opening heat.
Weblec Jet ($2.70), near-record winner of the Geelong Cup just six nights earlier, shaded Catch The Thief ($3) for favouritism but Dream Wizard ($6.60), a son of 2014 Warrnambool Cup finalist Walk Hard, made every post a winner from box one, clocking 25.10s.
Andrea Dailly claimed the first leg of a heat-to-heat double in the second qualifier when exciting youngster Qwara Bale, which only turned two on April 8, booked a berth in her first Group event.
Drawn in box five, Qwara Bale ($5.90) led from go to whoa in a fast 24.93s, the second quickest qualifying run, improving her impressive record to 10 from 19.
There was a massive upset in heat four when Denzell Bale, prepared by Samantha Grenfell, broke a 21-start losing sequence dating back to December, incredibly qualifying for his first Group final at his 77<sup>th</sup> start.
Equalizer started $1.70 favourite for Jason Thompson, who boasts five Warrnambool Cup victories, but $29.80 roughie Denzell Bale found the front and defied Zipping Walter and Equalizer in 25.17s.
It was Denzell Bale’s first Warrnambool victory in six starts at the track. He’ll now contest his first group final in start number 78.
The Grenfell family then had the favourite in the fifth heat in last start Group 1 Perth Cup hero Tiggerlong Tonk, which started $2.60 from box six but didn’t have a great deal of luck when runner-up to Jeff Britton’s promising Mepunga Warrior ($4.20).
Runner-up in both a Geelong Cup heat and the Cup Night Match Race, Mepunga Warrior was the first leg of Britton’s running double, downing Tiggerlong Tonk in 25.03s.
Correy Grenfell bounced back quickly from that disappointment in heat seven, courtesy of Yozo Bale ($3.30), winner of the Bendigo and Ballarat Cups in 2020.
Runner-up in the Geelong Cup Final last Friday, Yozo Bale led throughout, holding Andrea Dailly’s favourite Gypsy Yankee at bay in 25.07s.
Team Dailly did add a third finalist to their bow in the final heat when Jax Bale ($5.50), winner of the Cranbourne Cup in February and runner-up to kennelmate Shima Shine in the Horsham Cup, finished best to defeat favourite Aussie Secret in 25.09s.
Jax Bale ran seventh to Zambora Smokey in the 2020 Warrnambool Cup Final at his eleventh start.
Photos by Clint Anderson
2021 G2 MACEY’S BISTRO WARRNAMBOOL CUP
Wednesday 5 May (Night) – 450m
$67,000 – $47,000 (1st); $13,335 (2nd); $6,665 (3rd)
- DO IT (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie)
- DREAM WIZARD (Sean Lithgow, Devon Meadows)
- QWARA BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
- DENZELL BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
- SHIMA SHINE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
- MEPUNGA WARRIOR (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie)
- JAX BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
- YOZO BALE (Correy Grenfell, Anakie)
(fastest to slowest):
- 24.76sec Shima Shine
- 24.93sec Qwara Bale
- 25.03sec Mepunga Warrior
- 25.07sec Yozo Bale
- 25.09sec Jax Bale
- 25.10sec Dream Wizard
- 25.16sec Do It
- 25.17sec Denzell Bale
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