David Geall and record-breaking star Ferdinand Boy will take the first steps towards a third country cup crown in Sunday afternoon’s Victorian Straight Track Championship heats (350m) at Healesville.
Two heats will be held, with Ferdinand Boy to make his straight track debut in the second run-off, which is Race 8 at 1.29pm.
It was announced earlier this week that the qualifiers from next weekend’s Victorian final won’t head to the National Final at Capalaba in Queensland, which has been postponed due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
With an eye on the Healesville Cup in September, Lara-based Geall has entered Ferdinand Boy, brilliant winner of 23 of his 42 starts, highlighted by this year’s G2 Shepparton and G2 Ballarat Cups, for Sunday’s heats.
“It’s become very hard to place him because he’s been upgraded to Grade 3 for 425m and beyond,” Geall explained.
“We were going to the Healesville Cup so I gave him a trial there last Friday and he went very quick.
“I thought he might take a couple of runs to get used to Healesville but he’s such a mad chaser.
“I have found in the past the dogs can get a bit confused running in a straight line for a whole trip because they’re so used to slowing down to get around a bend but he trialled so well I decided to put him in the heats.”
Two starts back, Ferdinand Boy, a superbly-related son of Fernando Bale and Nayla Swift, a half-sister to Geall’s two-time G1 winner Up Hill Jill, broke Shepparton’s 385m record, adding it to the 450m benchmark he established when winning the Cup in March.
Then at his most recent appearance, at Sandown Park, everything went wrong when he uncharacteristically missed the start and then fell on the first corner.
“He pulled up really well after his fall,” Geall said.