David Geall has given punters a leg-up for Saturday night’s Super VicGreys final (525m) at The Meadows, rating lightly raced youngster Koblenz the equal of his Shepparton and Ballarat Cup-winning ‘cousin’ Ferdinand Boy.
The winner of seven of his 12 starts, including six of his last eight, Koblenz represents the ultimate in breeding, being a son of champion sprinter/sire Fernando Bale and Geall’s former superstar Up Hill Jill, a two-time Group 1 winner of the Topgun and Golden Easter Egg.
“We’ve always said ‘Jill’ doesn’t owe us anything,” said Geall, who trains at Lara.
“It didn’t matter if she didn’t produce anything; it’s not going to stop her coming in the house or going for rides in the van!
“This is her first litter and nine of the 10 have won. The litter also includes Hill Top Jack (nine wins from 18 starts).
“Early on Koblenz wasn’t showing the ability we knew he had but he had a good spell and we did some work with him and he hasn’t put a foot wrong since.”
Koblenz, which will turn two next Wednesday, made his debut at The Meadows in a heat last week and overcame a tough run to clock an unremarkable 30.28sec, with Invictus Rising’s BON 29.86sec the quickest of the four runoffs.
However, his previous two wins at Sandown in 29.44sec and Ballarat in 24.82sec provide a much better indication of his true ability.
The rich final (Race 7 at 8.43pm), offering a $12,000 winner’s purse, will be the first time Koblenz has worn the ‘red’ vest, but he’s undefeated in three starts from box two and has been installed $2.10 favourite.
“He’s very well drawn and he’s pretty reliable out of the boxes,” Geall said.
“I’m not worried at all about his time last week. We know what he’s capable of.
“He was caught out wide and did a lot of work and still got home well. He was entitled to drop off but he put his foot down again, so I was really happy with the run.
“I was wondering why he didn’t lead last week but they went 5.03sec, which he’s capable of.
“I’d put him on a par with Ferdinand Boy on times and splits but Koblenz is stronger.
“Astute people would be saying how can you say that when Ferdinand Boy has won two country cups.
“The difference at this stage is that Koblenz hasn’t got the knock-out punch that Ferdinand Boy has got. Ferdinand Boy is just a ferocious chaser whereas Koblenz is still a bit immature and green in himself.
“Koblenz and Ferdinand Boy are actually cousins. They’re both grandsons of Where’s Demonica and their mothers, Up Hill Jill and Nayla Swift, are half-sisters.”
After taking all before him in claiming the Warrnambool Derby, Shepparton Classic, Shepparton Cup and Ballarat Cup in quick succession, Ferdinand Boy’s winning streak came to an end in the Warrnambool Cup series, where he ran second in both his heat and the Cup Night Match Race.
“After the Ballarat Cup we trialled him at Sandown and he went very good, 29.53sec, but the 515m did knock him around,” Geall said.
“Then he got beaten in his Warrnambool Cup heat in 25.16sec, which we put down to a bit of trouble he got into.
“Tiggerlong Tonk is a super dog but in the Match Race on Wednesday, he went 6.50sec early and our bloke has gone 6.41sec and 6.43sec previously. He ran 25.10sec and we know he’s a 24.80sec dog so there’s five lengths I have to analyse.
“But he’s a terrific dog and we know he’ll bounce back. We’re looking at the new race coming up at Bendigo, the Pink Diamond.”
WATCH: Star prospect Koblenz (4) was trapped three-wide for most of the trip, but still proved too strong claiming a Super VicGreys heat (525m) in 30.28sec at The Meadows last week.
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