Ferdinand Boy will have to overcome Box 5 – a draw the superstar sprinter is well-acquainted with – in Saturday night’s sensational Group 2 Chasers Function Centre Bendigo Cup heats (425m) if he’s to earn a crack at a remarkable fourth country cup crown.
Already the winner of the Shepparton, Ballarat and Healesville Cups in 2021, Ferdinand Boy, trained by David Geall at Lara, will wear the yellow vest in the fifth of eight cut-throat Bendigo qualifiers, where picket-fence form-lines are everywhere you look.
Ferdinand Boy has won 29 of his 51 starts, six of his last nine and his last three in succession; however his Bendigo record is well below his amazing career strike rate, with just one win from six starts.
However, the majority of those runs were early in Ferdinand Boy’s career and the son of the great Fernando Bale has only raced once at Bendigo this year, in June, when third in the inaugural Pink Diamond Short Course final.
As mentioned, Ferdinand Boy has drawn Box 5 for his Cup heat (race 7 at 8.45pm), the sixth time in his last 12 starts he’s drawn the middle, including his Healesville Cup triumph.
Group race specialist Jason Thompson boasts three front-line contenders as he takes aim at a fifth Cup victory, following the wins of El Galo (2008), Peggy May (2012), Ronan Izmir (2013) and Aston Bolero (2016).
Thompson’s trio are recent G2 Healesville Cup finalist Mr. America (heat 1, box 7), boom youngster Rebellious (heat 4, box 4) and brilliant Northern NSW import Typhoon Sammy (heat 6, box 1).
Rebellious has won 13 of his 18 starts, including three from four at Bendigo, while Typhoon Sammy has won 15 from 22, is yet to taste defeat in four Victorian assignments, remains unbeaten in four starts from the rails alley and won his only start at Bendigo in a near-record 23.43sec.
WATCH: Box 5 posed no problems for country cups specialist Ferdinand Boy when he brilliantly won the G2 Healesville Cup (350m) last month.
Typhoon Sammy will create enormous interest but the son of Aston Dee Bee will face a baptism of Group race fire against dual G1 winner and last start G2 Healesville Cup runner-up Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 8).
Correy Grenfell’s Tiggerlong Tonk was edged out by kennelmate Yozo Bale when runner-up in last year’s Bendigo Cup, where Topgun winner Shima Shine and Melbourne Cup hero Hard Style Rico ran third and fourth respectively.
Yozo Bale, which also won the G2 Ballarat Cup last December and has finished second in both the Geelong and Warrnambool Cup finals this year, will be back to defend his Bendigo title, drawn in Box 6 in the penultimate heat.
Grenfell and wife Samantha also have last start Geelong Derby winner Nikoli Bale (heat 1, box 1), Xavien Bale (heat 3, box 3), Vayda Bale (heat 4, box 7), Kinson Bale (heat 5, box 7) and Yohan Bale (heat 8, box 7) lining up.
Steve White’s lightly-raced last start Warragul 400m record breaker Paua Of Buddy (heat 3, box 8), the winner of six of nine, will face his biggest test to date, with his opposition including G1 Brisbane Cup runner-up Music Event (Box 4), which was just .005sec outside Bendigo’s 425m record last Saturday.
Other key runners include two-time G1 winner and G2 Warrnambool Cup heroine Qwara Bale (heat 4, box 6) and Dr. Tucker (heat 8, box 2), second to Ferdinand Bale in the Sale Sprint Championship last Sunday.
With Bendigo occupying the Saturday night ‘primetime’ slot for its Cup series, the first of the eight heats will jump at 7.15pm.
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