David Geall’s ‘Midas touch’ in country cups continues unabated with Fernando Mick upstaging superstar kennelmate Koblenz – on the clock at least – with a near-record performance in Friday’s Group 2 RAM Security Cranbourne Cup heats (520m).
Six heats were staged, with Geall, who’s won three country cups this year courtesy of Ferdinand Boy (Ballarat, Healesville and Shepparton), one of three trainers to claim heat doubles.
Geall was victorious with long odds-on favourite Koblenz and Fernando Mick; Graeme Jose qualified Lots Of Chatter and Aston Shine for back-to-back cup finals after both contested last Saturday’s Bendigo Cup, while Andrea Dailly also had two winners in Lala Kiwi and Daph’s Ascend.
Fernando Mick, runner-up in the G1 Maturity Classic, set the qualifying standard in the opening heat, defeating defending Cup champion Jax Bale, also trained by Andrea Dailly, in a scorching 29.62sec.
His 13th win at start 44 was just .08sec outside the 29.54sec course record held by It’s A Blaze.
Koblenz, a regally bred son of Fernando Bale and Geall’s G1 Topgun and Golden Easter Egg heroine Up Hill Jill, stifled betting on heat four, starting at $1.30 and in a courageous display he dug deep to defeat outsider Gracie Bale in 29.86sec.
The win improved Koblenz’s phenomenal record to 22 from 35 and Geall is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky in a Group final, with the blueblood having run minor placings in the Cranbourne Classic and Warragul St. Leger at G3 level.
“I actually thought he was going to get beaten,” Geall told Troy Harley post-race.
“When Kinson Bale got to him I thought he was in a bit of strife. He couldn’t shake it off but he’s just courageous. Very happy with that last bit.
“Fernando Mick did surprise me by three or four lengths. I thought if he did win and get a clear run early we were hoping he might run 29.85/29.90sec.
2021 CRANBOURNE CUP HEATS
“The track might be fast but he’s run it. It’s hard to run near track records if the track is slow.”
After finishing second to Paua Of Buddy in the Bendigo Cup final, Graeme Jose’s 85-start veteran Lots Of Chatter was striving to qualify for his second successive Cranbourne Cup decider after finishing fourth to Jax Bale in February.
Drawn in Box 8, as he was in the Bendigo Cup, Lots Of Chatter continued his purple patch of form, downing Xavien Bale in 29.77sec to chalk up his 31st career win and third from his past four.
“The only reason why I was glad we drew the eight is it does give him room to move and he makes his own luck,” said Jose.
“If he gets 10-15 metres clear room he’s nearly as good as the good dogs. But in saying that, if he’d drawn one, two or three tonight maybe it would’ve been a different result and he might have been down the track.
“He just needs a little bit of clear running, like in the Bendigo Cup heat when they fanned and he just went kaboom. That’s him in a nutshell.”
Aston Shine, which ran fourth in the Bendigo Cup, then completed Jose’s double with an all-the-way 29.89sec performance in heat five, his fourth win from his last five starts.
“I’m just in awe. I put in a lot of hard work and I think it’s paying off,” said Jose.
Lala Kiwi improved her perfect record at Cranbourne to four from four, including the G3 Cranbourne Classic, with a dominant 29.78sec victory in heat two, and Daph’s Ascend then provided ‘Team Dailly’ with their second heat winner, taking out the final run-off in 29.88sec.
Photos by: Clint Anderson
GROUP 2 CRANBOURNE CUP FINAL
Saturday 30 October – 525m
1 DAPH’S ASCEND (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
2 FERNANDO MICK (David Geall, Lara)
3 LOTS OF CHATTER (Graeme Jose, Catani)
4 KOBLENZ (David Geall, Lara)
5 ASTON SHINE (Graeme Jose, Catani)
6 JAX BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
7 LALA KIWI (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
8 LUCKY LANCE (Gavin Kearns, Churchill)
9 GRACIE BALE (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon)
10 XAVIEN BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
(Fastest to slowest):
- 29.62sec Fernando Mick
- 29.75sec Lots Of Chatter
- 29.78sec Lala Kiwi
- 29.86sec Koblenz
- 29.88sec Daph’s Ascend
- 29.89sec Aston Shine
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