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Roughie needs golden Geall touch

Jeff Geall will need some of his high-flying brother David’s magic to rub off on Zipping Clifford if the 70-start roughie is to cause a surprise in Saturday night’s 600m FFA at The Meadows (race 6 at 8.07pm).

Jeff is a relative newcomer to the training ranks and didn’t have to look far for an ideal mentor.

He works in partnership with Lara-based David, who’s enjoying a fantastic run in 2021 with two-time country cups winner Ferdinand Boy and boom prospect Koblenz, winner of his past nine.

But Jeff concedes even David’s ‘Midas Touch’ won’t be enough to propel $41 outsider Zipping Clifford to what would be a monumental upset against powerhouse $1.60 favourite Christo Bale, winner of six of his last seven starts.

“We didn’t nominate for this race but we understand they needed to make up a field so we’ll cop it on the chin,” said Geall.

“Christo Bale beat him by six lengths over 525m a couple of weeks ago and he’ll probably beat him by more over a longer distance.

“It’s an impossible task but we’re doing the right thing.”

In Zipping Clifford’s favour, he does have strong form over The Meadows’ middle distance trip, winning three from eight and only missing a place once, but he’s unlikely to return to his best due to an injury sustained when campaigning in South Australia late in 2020.

“He made the (G1) Sandown Cup Final last year and he’s been very consistent – as well as his 14 wins he’s run 17 seconds,” Geall said.

“We sent him over to Adelaide to Lauren Harris to race against Sir Truculent last year but unfortunately he broke his metatarsal bone.

“We brought him back and he’s won over the sprint at The Meadows but he’s probably about four lengths off where he needs to be to be competitive in Grade 4 races, let alone FFA.”

“I took a redundancy package last year and the dogs are our sole income so we took a risk.”

Jeff did a grand job with his first greyhound Max Tractor, which is being retired after winning 22 of his 104 starts, including eight victories at The Meadows and six at Sandown, while another member of his small team, Brother Soldier, is heading to Perth.

Perhaps Jeff might consider calling on some ‘brotherly love’ to fill the void and ask to take over rising star Koblenz, a son of David’s two-time G1 winner Up Hill Jill that is part-owned by Jeff’s wife Marie, although that would be highly unlikely.

“We’re very, very fortunate to be involved in Koblenz,” said Jeff.

“We all know greyhound racing is week-to-week but he looks like he might be special.

“I took a redundancy package last year and the dogs are our sole income so we took a risk.

“My wife and I have also got a dog from Up Hill Jill’s next litter to Barcia Bale. He had his first hand-slip yesterday and went fantastic, so we’re pretty excited about that.

“I love working on the property; I’m out there most days.

“We call it ‘Team Geall’ and we all pitch in. Dave and I aren’t getting any younger!”

WATCH: Koblenz (1) makes it nine straight when wining the Pink Diamond Champion Short Course at Bendigo last week.

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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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