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Koblenz’s Cranbourne Cup celebration

Superstar blueblood Koblenz claimed his first Group event and handed trainer David Geall an incredible fourth country cup for 2021 on Saturday night with a brilliant all-the-way victory in the RAM Security Cranbourne Cup final (520m).

It was a special moment in an extraordinary year for Lara-based Geall, with Koblenz being a son of Fernando Bale and his dual G1 heroine Up Hill Jill, winner of the 2017 Topgun and 2018 Golden Easter Egg.

While Koblenz brought a sensational 22 from 35 record into the Cup final, a Group trophy had proven elusive, with his two previous feature appearances netting minor placings in the G3 Warragul St. Leger and G3 Cranbourne Classic.

It was a case of third time lucky for Geall, wife Rose, brother Jeff and sister-in-law Marie, who share in the ownership of Koblenz.

“It is a relief, because he’s been in a couple of Group races and just missed out on making the Maturity,” Geall told Jason Adams.

“When they’ve got that much pace, you’re just hoping they’re going to pull one off and now I’m just glad he’s done it.”

Geall had a very strong hand in the $50,000 to-the-winner Cup final, with Koblenz (Box 4) sent out $2.60 favourite and fastest qualifier Fernando Mick (Box 2) at $7.40.

Koblenz  showed his trademark blistering early pace, finding the front with a 5.35sec first split, leading Andrea Dailly’s $3.40 second elect Lala Kiwi, which was unbeaten in four starts at Cranbourne, and Graeme Jose’s Aston Shine ($24).

WATCH: KOBLENZ (4) had LALA KIWI (7) hot on his heels throughout, but he went on to claim the $50,000 to-the-winner Cranbourne Cup in 29.70sec over the fast-finishing ASTON SHINE (B5).

Koblenz wouldn’t be denied this time and kicked strongly in the home straight, drawing clear to defeat Aston Shine by two lengths in a flying 29.70sec, just over two lengths outside It’s A Blaze’s 29.54sec track record.

The victory took Koblenz’s prizemoney tally to $195,435 and there’s every chance that figure will be boosted substantially by year’s end, with the Melbourne Cup and inaugural Phoenix very much in the frame.

“I just saw him get out quick and I thought ‘You beauty!” Geall said.

“I had a quick look out for little Fernando Mick and I saw he’d missed it, so I focused back on this guy.

“I’m really happy for my brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law, Marie. They bought half a share and took a big punt because it didn’t come cheap. Even for family!

“My brother has taken a massive hit tonight too because he’s gone to Shepparton for me.”

Jeff Geall’s trip to Shepparton also paid off, with G2 Ballarat, Healesville and Shepparton Cup hero Ferdinand Boy careering away with the Doug Ferremi Memorial (385m) in 21.33sec, just .02sec outside his own course record.

Cranbourne’s Casey Steel Cup Night Match Race (520m) was a thrilling affair, with the sensationally-backed Invictus Rising ($1.40) grabbing Tiggerlong Tonk ($2.10) in the final stride, in another hot run of 29.74sec.

There was a huge upset in the Backmans Greyhound Supplies Victoria Cup (699m) when $29.50 roughie Floral Lace, trained by George Miltos at Hallam, stormed home to claim the $7500 winner’s purse in 41.06sec.

WATCH: TIGGERLONG TONK (1) scooted clear in the early stages, but a powerful finish from INVICTUS RISING (3) was enough to catch the evergreen dual Group 1 winner right on the finish line in 29.74sec.

Photos by: Clint Anderson

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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