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St Leger showdown a ‘Classic’

Saturday night’s $35,500 Group 3 Warragul St Leger final (460m) shapes as a ‘must watch’ sequel to the recent G1 Maturity Classic, with superstar duo Qwara Bale and Aston Fastnet reprising their starring roles.

Add boom speedster Koblenz (Box 2) into the mix and the race for the $25,000 winner’s purse shapes as one of the most memorable in the age-restricted feature’s history.

Andrea Dailly’s Qwara Bale (Box 7) celebrated her second G1 victory in the Maturity, having previously won the Sapphire Crown as well as the G2 Warrnambool Cup.

Qwara Bale made her Warragul debut when winning her heat in 25.63sec, handing exciting local prospect Paua Of Buddy (Box 3), trained at Buln Buln East by Steve White and a half-brother to joint Warragul 400m record holder Paua Of Oscar, his first defeat in five appearances at the track.

‘Team Dailly’ also has a second finalist in Shima Classic (Box 5), a half-sister to champion sprinter Shima Shine, which was unplaced in the 2019 St Leger final at just his fifth start.

Shima Classic ran third to Qwara Bale in the Sapphire Crown and also qualified for the G1 Australian Cup and G2 Ballarat Cup finals.

Aston Fastnet (Box 8), trained by Jason Thompson, whose wife Seona prepared 2018 St Leger winner Aston Kimetto, also raced by high profile owner/breeder Ray Borda, started favourite in the Maturity but was never a factor after blowing the start.

Aston Fastnet is the fastest qualifier for the St Leger after a 25.39sec heat victory, his second win from three Warragul appearances; however, as was the case in the Maturity, he’ll have to contend with the outside alley.

TAB has marked Aston Fastnet as joint $4.60 second elect with Qwara Bale, with Koblenz (Box 2), which won the third heat in 25.65sec, the $2.30 favourite.

The regally bred Koblenz, a son of Fernando Bale and trainer David Geall’s two-time G1 winner Up Hill Jill, boasts the imposing record of 17 from 24 and is looking for his first victory at Group level.

Koblenz has  won three from three from box two, while he’s yet to be beaten in eight career assignments from boxes one, two and three.

Another local hope, Hennessey (Box 6), trained by Ashlee Terry at Nilma North, is another finalist boasting excellent Warragul credentials, having won five on end before running third in Koblenz’s heat.

The field is rounded out by Angela Langton’s litter brothers Keep It Blue (Box 1) and Keep It Black (Box 4), both making their first appearances at Group level.

The St Leger meeting also includes the Simon Benson Memorial Grade 5 final (460m), featuring Maturity runner-up Fernando Mick, and the President’s Cup (680m).

Here’s a rundown of the contenders:

Group 3 Warragul St. Leger (460m), Saturday, 7.44pm

Trainer: Angela Langton (Anakie)
Breeding: April 2019 Fernando Bale x Art Noveau
Won 7 from 31. Was a soundly beaten third in his heat to Aston Fastnet and hard to see him featuring at the pointy end in such esteemed company despite drawing the rails. (PB – 25.97sec)

Trainer: David Geall (Lara)
Breeding: May 2019 Fernando Bale x Up Hill Jill
Comment: Won 17 from 24. Emerged as one of the most exciting sprinters in the land with sensational 11-race winning streak before his run came to an end when narrowly beaten in a G1 Maturity heat by Aston Fastnet. Impeccable record from inside boxes and is the one they all have to catch. (PB – 25.65sec)

3 PAUA OF BUDDY      scratched
Trainer: Steven White (Buln Buln East)
Breeding: April 2019 Aston Dee Bee x Paua To Admit
Comment: Won 5 from 8. Lightly raced and boasts excellent Warragul record, winning four on end before losing no admirers when second to Qwara Bale in his heat. This is his toughest test to date but he looks up to the task. (PB – 25.49sec)

Trainer: Angela Langton (Anakie)
Breeding: April 2019 Fernando Bale x Art Noveau
Comment: Won 10 from 28. Continued consistent recent form when runner-up in Koblenz’s heat. Rarely runs a bad race but lacks the class of some of his rivals and draw is no help. (PB – 25.74sec)

Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
Breeding: April 2019 Mepunga Blazer x Shima Song
Comment: Won 10 from 27. Dual G1 finalist in 2021. Gave a great sight in heat when led from box one before being overpowered late by fastest qualifier Aston Fastnet, with ‘daylight’ to third. Has the pace to offset her middle draw. (PB – 25.57sec)

Trainer: Ashlee Terry (Nilma North)
Breeding: April 2019 Barcia Bale x Tigress Ally
Won 7 from 15. Developed into a Warragul specialist after relocating from NSW earlier in the year, winning five on end before running third in his heat to Koblenz. This is harder again but should be competitive with luck from the draw. (PB – 25.67sec)

Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
Breeding: April 2019 Allen Deed x Daithy Allen
Won 19 from 32. Stamped herself as the best female sprinter in the land, winning G1 Maturity, G1 Sapphire Crown and G2 Warrnambool Cup. Back to her brilliant best winning her past three after a below par Queensland campaign and is again a major player. (PB – 25.63sec)

Trainer: Jason Thompson (Pearcedale)
Breeding: April 2019 KC And All x Aston Miley
Won 10 from 22. Enormous talent, capable of winning anything. Started favourite in G1 Maturity from this draw but was never a factor after a poor start. Produced the fastest heat performance and while likely to be spotting key rivals a start, is sure to be steaming home. (PB – 25.35sec)


Trainer: Joe Borg (Maryborough)
Breeding: April 2019 Aston Dee Bee x Lady Avenger
Won 6 from 16. Showing ability but well-beaten by Qwara Bale in heat and likely to find this too tough if a starter. (PB – 26.22sec)

Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
Breeding: April 2019 Dyna Villa x Fanta Bale
Won 6 from 32. Doesn’t win out of turn and this looks a bridge too far. (PB – 25.91sec)

HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest)
25.387sec Aston Fastnet
25.630sec Qwara Bale
25.647sec Koblenz

5.28pm: Race 1
6.44pm: $9,750 Presidents Cup (680m) – Race 5
7.06pm: $8,000 Simon Benson Memorial Final (460m) – Race 6
7.44pm: $35,500 G3 Warragul St. Leger Final (460m) – Race 8
8.27pm: Last race – Race 10

– Watch every race LIVE and FREE via or on Sky Racing.
– Trent Langskaill to provide regular crosses to RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM).
SEN Track (1593 AM).
– Extensive Twitter coverage with ‘@WatchDogRacing’

2015 He’s So Good (Michael Fearnley, Paynesville VIC)
2016 Fanta Bale (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
2017 Jimmy Newob (Barry Fullerton, Red Cliffs VIC)

2018 Aston Kimetto (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2019 Mepunga Daniel (Jeff Britton, Anakie, VIC)
2020 Catch The Thief (Matt Clark, Briagolong, VIC)

WATCH: Catch The Thief (2) takes out the 2020 Warragul St. Leger over Weblec Jet (8) and Zipping Sullivan (1).   Results

The content on this page was accurate at the time of publishing. If you notice any inaccurate content on this page or anywhere on the website, please report it here

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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