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Maturity crown fits ‘Queen’ Qwara

Qwara Bale, the only female in Saturday night’s KCR Pet Transport Maturity Classic (525m) at The Meadows, outpointed ‘the boys’ to claim her second Group 1 title and give Andrea Dailly a third victory in the prestigious age feature.

Dailly’s previous Maturity victories came with champion sprinter/sire Fernando Bale in 2015 and his daughter Dyna Patty in 2018.

In May, Qwara Bale, a daughter of Team Dailly’s Meadows 525m record holder Allen Deed, won the female-only G1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park, while she also outpointed the male sprinters, including superstar kennelmate Shima Shine, in the G2 Warrnambool Cup.

After campaigning in Brisbane, where she raced below her sensational recent Victorian form, Qwara Bale returned to the winners list in the Maturity heats, albeit clocking 30.19sec, which was the second ‘slowest’ of the eight qualifiers.

Earlier in the week Qwara Bale shared favouritism with first reserve Koblenz, which didn’t gain a start, but she drifted to $4.30 on race night, with Jason Thompson’s fastest heat winner Aston Fastnet heading betting at $4, despite a tough draw in box eight.

Qwara Bale came out running and crucially held out Mr. Fix It ($4.60) rounding the first turn.

She then kicked clear in the back straight and held off the strong-finishing Fernando Mick ($8.10); prevailing by half-a-length in 29.93sec, with Mr. Fix It finishing third.

“Going into the race I thought if she pinged she was in with a big chance but if she didn’t come out she had no chance,” said co-trainer George Dailly.

“She came out nice and when she held out Mr. Fix It I thought she was going to be hard to beat.

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“If you reverse the boxes with Mr. Fix It it might have been a different story but she did everything right and made the race for herself.

“Turning for home I thought she had the race won. I didn’t think David Geall’s dog (Fernando Mick) would pick her up. It got close enough but she’s quite strong and she’s a very good chaser.

“It’s a big thrill because she’s by Allen Deed and I think he’s a very underrated sire.

“He’s held the 525m record at The Meadows for seven years and nothing has got near it and he’s doing a very good job at stud with the opportunities he’s had.”

Qwara Bale enhanced her imposing record to 18 from 31, with the $100,000 winner’s purse boosting her prizemoney tally to $335,220.

Earlier in the night the G3 Destini Lodge Fireball Final (725m) saw a commanding performance from well-backed favourite Hank The Hustler.

Trained by Jeff Britton, Hank The Hustler, a son of Fernando Bale and G1 Sapphire Crown winner Oakvale Destiny, started $2.60 from an ideal draw in box one and after beginning only fairly he railed into third behind leader Whatever I Say ($4.60) and Star Blazer ($13) with a lap to go.

Hank The Hustler stormed to the front turning for home and powered clear to defeat ‘kennelmate’ Star Blazer, trained by Britton’s partner Angela Langton, by 3.63 lengths in 43.01sec.

It was Hank The Hustler’s 17th win at start 48 and fifth from six appearances in ‘the red’.

“I was a bit worried when the five (Whatever I Say) had a fair lead because it ran a great race last week in the heats,” said kennel representative Craig Solkhon.

“When he sat third I was quietly confident and he managed to get around the outside and get home strong.”

There was also enormous interest in the star-studded FFA over 525m, which saw Aston Rupee ($3.30) run down favourite Koblenz ($2.20) in 29.75sec, with Shima Shine ($4) close up in third.

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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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