Superbly-bred speedster Aston Geneve maintained her unbeaten record in sensational style when upsetting dual country cups hero Ferdinand Boy in Sunday’s Group 2 SEN Track Healesville Cup heats (350m).
Trained by Jacqui Greenough and husband Kel, Aston Geneve, a daughter of KC And All and 2015 G1 Hume Cup winner Secret Spell, had won all five of her starts prior to stepping up to Group company for the first time in the heats of the $50,000 to-the-winner Cup.
Making the lightly-raced blueblood’s ‘baptism of fire’ even more daunting, she was drawn against series heavyweight Ferdinand Boy, which was taking aim at a third country cup crown to add to his G2 Ballarat and Shepparton Cup titles.
After an impressive 19.09sec Healesville debut one week earlier, Aston Geneve was the $4.70 second elect from Box 2 in the fifth of six star-packed heats, with Ferdinand Boy the $1.60 favourite from Box 5.
Ferdinand Boy and Aston Geneve both began well but while Ferdinand Boy looked to have the upper hand; Aston Geneve hit her more-experienced rival for ‘six’ with a desperate late dive, scoring by a head in 19.17sec.
If she can make it ‘seven from seven’ in next Sunday’s final, she’ll hand the Greenough kennel a third Cup victory, having gone back-to-back with Frosty Jay Jay and Allkel To Excel in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
While Lara trainer David Geall had to settle for second place with Ferdinand Boy, he produced the fastest qualifier in the following and final heat when the regally bred Hill Top Jonah enhanced his unblemished Healesville record.
Hill Top Jonah, a son of Fernando Boy and Geall’s former superstar Up Hill Jill and a litter brother to the brilliant Koblenz, came into the heats having won his past five starts, all at Healesville, three over the 350m Cup course and two 300m successes.
In one of the toughest heats, Hill Top Jonah started $2.10 favourite from Box 2, ahead of Utah Ghost ($3.40), winner of the Victorian Straight Track Championship at Healesville last month, and defending Cup champion Zambora Lou ($5.40).
Hill Top Jonah continued on his winning way with an ultra-impressive 19.13sec Best Of Day performance, defeating Aston Merit ($11.10), a litter brother to the undefeated Aston Geneve, by 2.16L.
Aston Merit, trained by Jessica Sharp and husband Jason, who trained 2018 Healesville Cup winner Kouta Mayhem, was having just his third start, having taken out the Highway 31 Maiden Challenge final (300m) at Healesville the previous Sunday.
Ferdinand Boy (19.18sec) and Aston Merit (19.28sec) will join the six heat winners in the final as the fastest two seconds.