Superstar sprinter Ferdinand Boy confirmed his status as Victorian greyhound racing’s country cups ‘king’ with a breathtaking victory in Sunday afternoon’s Group 2 SEN Track Healesville Cup (350m).
It was Ferdinand Boy’s third country cup title in 2021, with Lara trainer David Geall, who bred and races the regally-related son of Ferdinand Bale and Nayla Swift, a half-sister to Geall’s dual G1 winner Up Hill Jill, in partnership with wife Rose, celebrating a $100,000 payday.
In addition to the $50,000 Cup winner’s purse, Ferdinand Boy was also the recipient of a $50,000 bonus for winning three Victorian country cups in a calendar year, having reigned supreme at Ballarat and Shepparton earlier in the year.
Making the occasion even more memorable, Geall also prepared third placegetter Hill Top Jonah, Ferdinand Boy’s ‘cousin’.
“Absolutely over the moon,” said a delighted Geall.
“What a huge thrill. I just said to my wife Rose that after he won I didn’t even think about the money or the bonus, I just thought ‘We’ve won the Healesville Cup!’
“The great thing about this is that I’ve got a large family and I know they all would have been going berserk watching the race!”
Unbeaten in six appearances at Healesville, including the fastest heat performance, Hill Top Jonah started $2.60 favourite from Box 1, ahead of Ferdinand Boy at $3.10 from Box 5, which ran a close second in his heat to the unbeaten Aston Geneve ($7.20).
The only other runner at single figures was Tiggerlong Tonk at $7.50, which started favourite in the 2020 Cup when sixth to Zambora Lou.
While Geall felt Hill Top Jonah was his best chance, courtesy of a better draw, Ferdinand Boy rose to the occasion, burning to the front with a 6.42sec first split and dominating proceedings as he defeated the strong-finishing Tiggerlong Tonk by 2.67 lengths in a flying 18.88sec.
Heat surprise packet Aston Merit ($16.90) produced another ‘meritorious’ performance for ‘Team Sharp’, running fourth in just his fourth career start.
“We thought the other bloke (Hill Top Jonah) might win but Ferdinand Boy has got the knack of producing when it matters,” Geall said proudly.
“I didn’t think he was quite at his best up the straight and it took seven runs but he got there on the seventh!
Ferdinand Boy’s previous best time over the 350m had been 19.00sec, with Geall’s meticulous six-week preparation for the Cup, which included minor placings in The Arrow match race series (second) and Victorian Straight Track Championship (third), paying dividends.
Ferdinand Boy also had to contend with a horror run of draws during his Healesville campaign, drawing Box 5 four times in his seven starts, Box 6 twice and Box 4 once.
Ferdinand Boy now has the remarkable record of 27 wins from his 49 starts, with his commanding Healesville victory and the monster bonus taking his career earnings to $318,395.
The brilliant speedster has made a habit of winning provincial features; in addition to his three Cup victories, he’s also won the Lightning Frank Derby at Warrnambool, Shepparton Classic and inaugural Horizon at Sale.
“You can also throw in the Horsham Vic Breeders, where we started him off!” quipped Geall.
“We’ll take him back to the horseshoe tracks now and probably go back to Sale for the Sprint Championship (heats October 3) and the Bendigo Cup is also coming up.
“When I trialled him at Sandown previously it really knocked him around. If we take him back there I’d say it would be for a Melbourne Cup prelude and not before then.”
🥇 FERDINAND BOY (David Geall)
🥈 TIGGERLONG TONK (Correy Grenfell)
🥉 HILL TOP JONAH (David Geall)
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