On a cold, wintry night – and under latest COVID lockdown – the best, and only, place was at home in your favourite armchair to watch tonight’s Trio’s Winter Cup heats (520m) at Cranbourne.
And given Melbourne’s coronavirus environment, sprint siren Immunity loomed as the omen.
Well, the script went according to plan with the Jason Thompson-trained flying femme showing plenty of ‘resilience’ in Heat 4.
A winner of 14 races from 19 starts, Immunity ($2.60F) was the fastest qualifier defeating a gallant Nikoli Bale ($3.10) by 1.6L in a sizzling 30.05sec. She’s undefeated in four starts from Box 8.
Immunity, who was a G2 Laurels finalist late last year, has returned in stylish fashion since a seasonal spell.
But she won’t receive any ‘protection’ in next week’s $20,535 to-the-winner final after the David Geall-trained Hill Top Jack won Heat 1 in a slick 30.07sec.
Hill Top Jack ($5.50) assumed control rounding the first turn and dashed away for an effortless 6.4L win over Xavien Bale ($4.20). It was his 11th win from 23 starts, including six of his last 11.
He’s a litter brother of Koblenz, who has won his past seven starts, and a ‘cousin’ of dual G2 country cups winner Ferdinand Boy, who is favourite to win the inaugural $25,000 to-the-winner ‘The Horizon’ at Sale on Sunday night. All three are trained by Geall.
Meanwhile, the Samantha Grenfell-trained Usman Bale ($5.30) snared Heat 2 by 2.1L over Mepunga Reject ($2.40F) in a respectable 30.25sec. It was his sixth win from 16 starts, including four of his last seven.
Grenfell has Nikoli Bale and litter brothers Xavien Bale and Usman Bale in the final. The latter two were second and third respectively to kennelmate and ‘country cups king’ Yozo Bale in the recent Listed Graeme Hull Memorial, formerly known as the Wagga Gold Cup.
And recent G1 Sapphire Crown finalist Persian Goddess ($5.50) proved a ‘sprite’ taking out Heat 3 by 3L over Plan Ahead ($8.80) in a smart 30.19sec.
Trained by Ben Joske, Persian Goddess – the medium of solid support – registered her ninth win from 18 starts, including three of her last five.
$29,285 CRANBOURNE WINTER CUP FINAL
Saturday 12 July
$20,535 (1st); $5,830 (2nd); $2,920 (3rd)
1 NIKOLI BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
2 MEPUNGA REJECT (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie)
3 XAVIEN BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
4 IMMUNITY (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale)
5 PLAN AHEAD (Angela Langton, Anakie)
6 HILL TOP JACK (David Geall, Lara)
7 PERSIAN GODDESS (Ben Joske, Yinnar South)
8 USMAN BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
9 KURO KISMET (Matthew Clark, Briagolong)
10 RIPPLEBROOK GLEN (Ronald Wood, Warragul)
(Fastest to slowest)
- 30.05sec Immunity
- 30.07sec Hill Top Jack
- 30.19sec Persian Goddess
- 30.25sec Usman Bale
Photos by Clint Anderson
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