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Christo Bale’s drive for five

Six-time Group 1 finalist Christo Bale is poised to continue his brilliant return from injury and trainer Mark Delbridge’s fantastic recent run when he takes aim at a fifth straight victory on Saturday night at The Meadows.

Delbridge and wife Lisa have enjoyed a fortnight to remember, with the ‘other’ star of their Balliang kennel, Zipping Rambo, winning the G1 Sandown Cup (715m), followed by the G3 Racecallers Speed Star series (595m) on Wednesday.

It will be Christo Bale’s turn to take centre stage in the GR8 Eight Special Event (525m) – Race 8 at 8.57pm.

After missing two months due to injury, Christo Bale, which has won 24 of his 59 starts, including 10 from 24 over The Meadows 525m course despite being better known for his middle-distance exploits, has returned with a bang.

“He tore his triangle muscle; he’s always had problems with one of his triangles,” Delbridge said.

“He’s won four from five since coming back and I’ve tried to pick his races out for him.

“He was beaten at Healesville first-up but he’s not suited over 350m. His next two runs at Geelong and Bendigo were in Grade 4s to make it a little bit easier.

“His third run was at The Meadows on a Wednesday and he ran 29.76sec and then I threw him in the deep end with two runs in under a week but he went super, running 29.85sec in a FFA last Saturday.

“I was going to put him back over 600m this week but then I saw the GR8 Eight was on and with most of the FFA dogs going around in the Speed Star on Wednesday I thought it should be a bit easier so 600 can wait another week.”

WATCH: ‘Comeback king’ Christo Bale (7) makes it four wins in a row last week at The Meadows.

Drawn in box one, from where he’s won three of six career starts, Christo Bale is TAB’s $2.30 favourite.

“Box one doesn’t really suit him,” Delbridge said.

“He likes to get off to about box three or four, especially on the first corner, and that’s what has brought him undone in the Group races.

“He gets whacked on the first corner and has to balance up again and the others are off and gone. He’s always coming home to run third or fourth but it’s too late.

“The problem is that he’s only got one more 600m at The Meadows and he’ll be FFA at both city tracks and you just don’t get the races. He won the (G2) McKenna Memorial at Sandown about a year ago and has only had one start there over 595m since.

“He’s been in six of them (G1 races) and hasn’t had any luck. If he’s going to win another Group race it will be over ‘600’. That’s his go.”

Christo Bale will chase back-to-back victories in next month’s McKenna Memorial, which the Delbridges also won with Flash Of Light in 2010, where he’s highly likely to be joined by kennelmate Zipping Rambo.

“I’m in the same boat with Zipping Rambo being FFA over ‘600’ in town so they’re going to have to race against each other even though I’d rather keep them apart.”

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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