Fernando Mick (Box 2) is TAB’s $3.50 favourite for Saturday night’s $71,250 Group 2 RAM Security Cranbourne Cup final (520m) after upstaging superstar kennelmate Koblenz (Box 4) in last weekend’s heats.
If either Fernando Mick or Koblenz, the $4.00 equal second elect, can win the $50,000 to-the-winner Cup it would hand Lara trainer David Geall a remarkable fourth country cup in 2021, with Ferdinand Boy having claimed the G2 Ballarat, Shepparton and Healesville Cups.
Runner-up in the G1 Maturity Classic at The Meadows in July, Fernando Mick was an electrifying 29.62sec heat winner, just over a length outside It’s A Blaze’s 29.54sec track record, defeating defending Cup champion Jax Bale by four lengths.
Click HERE for the latest TAB odds
However, Geall fears Box 2 may bring his favourite undone.
“He’s probably going to find it difficult off the inside because he wants to get off straight out of the box and then he cuts back inside on the first corner. I wanted him to be in 6, 7 or 8 or on the outside of Koblenz but I bombed out,” conceded Geall.
Koblenz, which started at $1.30, gave Geall a second finalist when leading all-the-way in 29.86sec, the blueblood digging deep to stave off Gracie Bale to claim his 22nd win from 35 starts, and he’s now eyeing a Group breakthrough in the decider.
7.00pm First race
8.19pm GRV Vic Bred final (Race 5)
8.38pm Victoria Cup (Race 6)
9.22pm G2 Cranbourne Cup final (Race 8)
9.44pm Match Race – Tiggerlong Tonk vs Invictus Rising – (Race 9)
10.52pm Last race (Race 12)
***Shepparton will host the G3 Northern Districts Cup Final on Saturday at 8.16pm.***
The six heats were dominated by three trainers, with Andrea Dailly, who’s taking aim at a third Cranbourne Cup title in five years, and Graeme Jose also preparing doubles.
‘Team Dailly’ has three finalists, with heat winners Lala Kiwi (Box 7) and Daph’s Ascend (Box 1) joined by runner-up Jax Bale (Box 6), which is the unusual position of attempting to win the Cup for the second time in a calendar year after a change of date, having won the race in its previous February timeslot.
At $4, Lala Kiwi looms as the clear ‘number one seed’ among the Dailly trio, being unbeaten in four starts at Cranbourne, highlighted by the G3 Classic in August, where she defeated Koblenz in both heat and final.
Graeme Jose is riding a crest of a country cup wave with in-form duo Lots Of Chatter (Box 3) and Aston Shine (Box 5) both qualifying for back-to-back finals after also contesting the Bendigo Cup, where Lots Of Chatter ran second to brilliant winner Paua Of Buddy and Aston Shine finished fourth.
85-start veteran Lots Of Chatter, which ran fourth to Jax Bale in February’s Cranbourne Cup final, has won four of his six starts at Cranbourne and is at the pointy end of betting at $5.
Cranbourne Cup night will also include a tantalising Cup Night Match Race between Tiggerlong Tonk and Invictus Rising after the cup at 9.44pm, while Shepparton is set to host the $25K to-the-winner Group 3 Northern Districts Cup Final earlier in the night at 8.16pm.
Here’s a rundown of the contenders:
Group 2 Cranbourne Cup final (520m), Saturday 9.22pm
1 DAPH’S ASCEND
Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie) | Breeding: November 2018 Fernando Bale x Zippy Daph
Comment: Won 12 from 57. Started big odds in heat and only began fairly but took advantage of dream rails run going through first turn to race away for a commanding victory. Making first appearance in a Group event and others look to have her measure but the draw gives her minor claims. (PB – 29.88sec)
2 FERNANDO MICK
Trainer: David Geall (Lara) | Breeding: February 2019 Fernando Bale x Noaki Moth
Comment: Won 13 from 44. Produced standout heat performance with near-record victory, his second win from three starts at the track. Is proven in elite company, running a close second in G1 Maturity in July. Installed favourite courtesy of airborne qualifying run but trainer believes he won’t be suited by inside alley. (PB – 29.62sec)
3 LOTS OF CHATTER
Trainer: Graeme Jose (Catani) | Breeding: January 2018 Fernando Bale x Alotta Luck
Comment: Won 31 from 85. Evergreen veteran enjoying a purple patch of form in the twilight of his career. Ran second in G2 Bendigo Cup before slick heat victory, his fourth win from six starts at Cranbourne. Contesting second Cranbourne Cup final in 2021 after running fourth to Jax Bale in February. Right in this. (PB – 29.77sec)
Trainer: David Geall (Lara) | Breeding: May 2019 Fernando Bale x Up Hill Jill
Comment: Won 22 from 35. Winning machine with phenomenal strike rate. Chasing first Group victory after minor placings in G3 Cranbourne Classic and G3 Warragul St. Leger. Led, as usual, and fought on gamely in tough heat victory after looking vulnerable. Faultless beginner with great early speed and certain to give a huge sight. (PB – 29.86sec)
5 ASTON SHINE
Trainer: Graeme Jose (Catani) | Breeding: January 2019 Fernando Bale x Fantastic Dotty
Comment: Won 14 from 51. Like kennelmate Lots Of Chatter, comes into this in peak form, winning four of his past five, with the defeat being a meritorious fourth in G2 Bendigo Cup. Will need luck from tough draw but racing with great confidence. (PB – 29.89sec)
6 JAX BALE
Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie) | Breeding: January 2018 Allen Deed x Helma Bale
Comment: Won 17 from 70. Attempting to win second Cranbourne Cup for 2021, having led-all-the-way from Box 7 in a flying 29.68sec back in February. Continues racing consistently and must be treated warily. Is the sentimental favourite after the recent passing of legendary owner/breeder Paul Wheeler. (PB – 29.68sec)
7 LALA KIWI
Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie) | Breeding: May 2019 Aussie Infrared x Lala Shim
Comment: Won 15 from 33. Improved her undefeated record at Cranbourne to four from four with dominant all-the-way heat victory, having also won heat and final of G3 Classic in August. Her other Cranbourne win came in near-record time. Comes out running here and will take a power of beating. (PB – 29.69sec)
8 LUCKY LANCE
Trainer: Gavin Kearns (Churchill) | Breeding: March 2019 Barcia Bale x Nana Road
Comment: Won 9 from 27. Former NSW and Queensland-trained sprinter that continued consistent Victorian form when close heat second to Aston Shine. Likely to find it difficult to get into the race from outside draw and entitled to be long odds. (PB – 29.93sec)
9 GRACIE BALE
Trainer: Daniel Gibbons (Avalon) | Breeding: October 2019 Orson Allen x Dyna Gertie
Comment: Won 4 from 16. Finished strongly in heat when second to Koblenz and has plenty of upside but will find some of these too slick at this stage. (PB – 29.94sec)
10 XAVIEN BALE
Trainer: Samantha Grenfell (Anakie) | Breeding: August 2019 Fernando Bale x Ethla Allen
Comment: Won 11 from 38. Talented sprinter but outclassed in this company. (PB – 30.02sec)
HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest)
29.617sec Fernando Mick
29.769sec Lots Of Chatter
29.783sec Lala Kiwi
29.884sec Daph’s Ascend
29.887sec Aston Shine
CRANBOURNE CUP HEATS - EVERY REPLAY
CRANBOURNE CUP HEAT WINNERS
Photos by: Clint Anderson
RECENT CRANBOURNE CUP WINNERS
2012 Mystic Apple (Val Awramenko, Leopold VIC)
2013 Cintiarna (Sandra Collins, Hazelwood VIC)
2014 Banjo Boy (Kenneth Virtue, Lang Lang VIC)
2015 Avondale Porsche (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
2016 Above All (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
2017 Crackerjack Choc (Anita Gibbons, Lara VIC)
2018 Mossimo Bale (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2019 Orson Allen (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC)
2020 Often Imitated (Jacqueline Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
2021 (January) Jax Bale (Andrea Dailly, Anakie, VIC)
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