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‘Fastnet’ sails to ‘age of reason’

Two of the sport’s most exciting young stars – Aston Fastnet and Koblenz –staged a thriller in Heat 2 of the G1 KCR Pet Transport Maturity Classic (525m) at The Meadows tonight.

Incredibly, Koblenz ($1.90F) was chasing his 12th successive win, but Aston Fastnet ($4.20) sailed home at ‘full mast’ to score by just 0.14L over the tearaway leader in 29.85sec.

Trained by Jason Thompson, Aston Fastnet – a finalist in the G3 Bill Collins Speed Star won by his litter brother Aston Rupee – recorded his ninth win from 20 starts.

Thompson has won the Maturity on two occasions – Run’s House (2007) and Aston Trivett (2009).

However, highly underrated Heat 1 winner Handsome Rhino looms to ‘lock horns’.

Trained by Paul Galea, Handsome Rhino ($7.40) upstaged Jepara ($1.60F) by 5.2L, also in 29.85sec. It was his seventh win from 15 starts, including four from five over 525m at The Meadows.

Only trainer David Burnett could relate his emotions after Envy To Burn caused a boilover in Heat 3. Burnett won last year’s Maturity with ill-fated superstar Simon Told Helen.

A G2 WA Derby finalist, Envy To Burn ($12.80) made it eight wins from 20 starts clocking a tidy 30.02sec. NSW tyro Jungle Deuce ($2.20F) – winner of the G2 Flying Amy Classic and 13 races from 21 starts – finished 4.2L away in third place.

In Heat 4, the Mark Delbridge-trained Nihari Bale ($8.10) upstaged ‘next big thing’ Aston Rupee ($1.40F) by 4.3L in 30.04sec. Nihari Bale, who recently finished third in the Healesville Derby, brought up his ninth win from 32 starts.

Delbridge finished fourth with Christo Bale in last year’s Maturity.

Australia’s sprint queen Qwara Bale ($1.80F) bounced back to her brilliant best with a 30.19sec victory in Heat 5.

The G1 Sapphire Crown and G2 Warrnambool Cup winner notched her 17th win from 30 starts, including five from 10 over 525m at The Meadows, and her sixth from seven exiting the ‘check’ trap.

Dailly also has two Maturity’s on the mantelpiece – Fernando Bale (2015) and his daughter, Dyna Patty (2018).

(Fastest to slowest)

  • 29.85sec Aston Fastnet
  • 29.85sec Handsome Rhino
  • 30.02sec Envy To Burn
  • 30.04sec Nihari Bale
  • 30.05sec Fernando Mick
  • 30.09sec Mr. Fix It
  • 30.19sec Qwara Bale
  • 30.20sec Hill Top Jack


David Geall received some consolation for Koblenz’s narrow defeat when his litter brother Hill Top Jack ($7.50) flashed home to win Heat 6 and Fernando Mick ($2.60EF) landed Heat 7.

Hill Top Jack, a winner of 13 races from 29 starts, semaphored 30.20sec in nabbing G2 McKenna Memorial third placegetter Jarick Bale by 0.4L.

Fernando Mick, a G3 Launching Pad finalist, clocked 30.05sec accounting for dual G1 finalist Shima Classic ($2.60EF) by 0.8L.

Litter brothers Mr. Fix It and Do It – both trained by Jeff Britton – went at it ‘hammer and tongs’ in Heat 8.

And in a clash of ‘sibling rivalry’, it was Mr. Fix It ($3.10) who earned bragging rights over G2 Flying Amy Classic finalist Do It ($2.10F) by 0.4L in 30.09sec.

Mr. Fix It – a G3 Cup Night Sprint finalist and winner of 15 races from 37 starts, including nine from 16 over 525m at The Meadows – provided Britton with a chance to also win a third Maturity.

He won with Mepunga Hayley (2014) and Mepunga Blazer (2017).

Meanwhile, the two heats of the G3 Destini Lodge Fireball (725m) ended in shock results.

The first heat went to the Ray Henness-trained I’m Easy Boys ($6.10) in 43.03sec, with G1 Sandown Cup hero Zipping Rambo ($1.80F) never a factor 11.3L away in sixth position.

I’m Easy Boys, a G1 Sale Cup finalist, notched his 21st win from 83 starts.

And in heat two, the ‘Jimmy’ Redenbach-trained Whatever I Say ($6.80) toppled Listed Cup Night Stayers winner Hank The Hustler ($3.40) by 0.97L in 42.92sec. Five Star ($2.60F) – winner of the G3 Lizrene Speed Star and Pink Diamond Champion Distance – was 5.7L away from the winner in fourth position.

Staying revelation Whatever I Say, a Pink Diamond Champion Distance finalist, registered her seventh win from 17 starts.


Saturday 24 July, The Meadows
$100,000 – $28,500 – $14,250
1 NIHARI BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang)
2 HILL TOP JACK (David Geall, Lara)
3 QWARA BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
4 FERNANDO MICK (David Geall, Lara)
5 MR. FIX IT (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
6 HANDSOME RHINO (Paul Galea, St. Albans)
7 ENVY TO BURN (David Burnett, Little River)
8 ASTON FASTNET (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale)
9 KOBLENZ (David Geall, Lara)
10 SHIMA CLASSIC (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)

Group 3 THE FIREBALL 725m
Saturday 24 July, The Meadows
$25,000 – $7,000 – $3,500
1 HANK THE HUSTLER (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
2 I’M EASY BOYS (Ray Henness, Heathcote)
3 MY FATHER’S SON (Michael Chilcott, Heathcote)
4 STAR BLAZER (Angela Langton, Anakie)
5 WHATEVER I SAY (Robert Redenbach, Cranbourne South)
6 ZIPPING TICKET (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
7 FIVE STAR (Paul Abela, Parwan)
8 SO PREDICTABLE (Deborah Coleman, Lara)
9 RUN LIKE JESS (Robert Camilleri, Lara)
10 LAKEVIEW LOLA (Monique Whelan, Metung)

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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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