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Delbridges ‘play it straight’ at Healesville

‘Team Delbridge’ has left no stone unturned in their ultimate quest for a Healesville Derby/Oaks double.

The Balliang-based husband-and-wife team have a runner in each of the four Derby heats (350m), with another flying solo in the Oaks heats (350m).

And they’ve also brought along a couple of country stars as back-up! Coming along for the drive are Rilynn Bale (26 wins from 53 starts) and Man Absconded (19 from 51).

In all, the Delbridges will rug nine runners on the 12-event program.

Lisa Delbridge rates Nihari Bale (Heat 1 – Race 4 Box 3 – 11.41am) and Spring Bjorn (Heat 2 – Race 6 Box 4 – 12.14pm) as their main hopes in the Derby series.

“Nihari Bale is a hard chaser, but sometimes he’s a bit hit-and-miss out of the boxes,” she said. “He had a couple of months off but has been trialling super.”

And Lisa is equally bullish about Spring Bjorn, who won at Healesville last week.

“He’s a bit tardy early but is very strong. He won three up the straight at Murray Bridge before he came to us.”

Their other two Healesville Derby heat aspirants are Zipping Malibu (Heat 3 – Race 8 Box 7 – 12.53pm) and Zipping Higgins (Heat 4 – Race 9 Box 7 – 1.11pm).

Meanwhile, Zipping Valerie (Heat 2 – Race 7 Box 3 – 12.29pm) is flying the female flag for the Delbridge kennel in the Oaks series.

“She’s got early pace and nine times out of 10, she leads. She’s trialled at Healesville and went well.”

Lisa is also quietly confident on the chances of Man Absconded (Race 3 Box 2 – 11.26am) and Rilynn Bale (Race 12 Box 8 – 2.07pm).

“Man Absconded was a huge run here in a Rodney Thorneycroft Memorial heat. He got held up early and came home like a train.

“Then, in the final (won by litter brother Rocket Boy), he got ‘cleaned up’ early. He’ll be suited by box two (six wins from eight starts) and just needs a stride or two to get balanced.”

Lisa added that Rilynn Bale was “drawn where she wants to be” in box eight (six wins from seven starts).

“Basically, she’s a faultless beginner. At her past two starts, she’s just met a better dog (Providence Bale) in a heat and final of the Cannonball Sprint at Geelong.”

‘Team Delbridge’ will also be represented by Winlock Mungo (Race 1 Box 2 – 10.47am) and Spring Cobra (Race 10 Box 4 – 1.31pm).

The star-studded Derby heats also feature speedsters the ilk of Paddy’s Marvel, Handsome Jack, Blackpool Flash, Soda Prince and Incendio, while the two Oaks heats are highlighted by the appearance of Gunai Rebel and Jazz Opera.

WATCH: Spring Bjorn (2) wins at Healesville last week in preparation for the Derby heats on Sunday.

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About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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