On the day her legendary breeder Paul Wheeler was farewelled, outsider Knicks Bale claimed one of the most emotional victories the racing world has seen or ever will see in Monday night’s Group 1 TAB Hume Cup final (600m) at The Meadows.
Trained by young Anakie couple Correy and Samantha Grenfell, Knicks Bale started at $22.10 from Box 5 but had an angel’s wing on every paw as she led all-the-way to win the middle distance feature.
Earlier on Monday, a large crowd, including many of the biggest names in Victorian and indeed Australian greyhound racing gathered in Young, NSW, to attend the great Paul Wheeler’s funeral service.
Just hours later, Knicks Bale added another unforgettable highlight to the industry icon’s phenomenal career and there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the house.
“It is emotional,” Samantha Grenfell said to Gareth Hall post-race.
“Paul’s funeral was today and this is for Paul, I guess.
“It’s very special. I even said to Jan (Paul’s wife) today that I hope ‘Knicks’ does her thing for Paul. I hope everyone is watching.
“Paul gave us a lot of advice and mentoring over the years. We’ve been very lucky to have known Paul.”
Wheeler had a massive influence on the Grenfells, who enjoyed a life-changing journey with Orson Allen, the 2018/19 Australian Greyhound of the Year.
A daughter of Kinda Cruel Red and Dyna Willow, Knicks Bale is raced by Paul’s son Brendan, who will now take on the enormous task of stepping into his late father’s shoes and vowed on Monday that he “won’t die wondering”.
WATCH: KNICKS BALE (5) led all the way in the Hume Cup to land her first group race at start number 70, with MEPUNGA WARRIOR (6) and GYPSY WYONG (1) filling the minor placings.
“It’s very special. I even said to Jan (Paul’s wife) today that I hope ‘Knicks’ does her thing for Paul.”
Hindsight is always 20/20, but the huge price offered about Knicks Bale was especially generous, as although she had to contend with the middle alley, she was only grabbed in the last stride in her heat by fastest qualifier Mr. Speaker.
Knicks Bale kept kicking strongly and defeated the fast-finishing Mepunga Warrior ($4.90) by one length in 34.37sec, with Gypsy Wyong third.
“I was a little bit worried because it was a very good field but she’s just such a good little bitch,” Samantha offered.
Knicks Bale has now 14 from 70 and the $75,000 winner’s purse boosted her prizemoney tally to $172,710; however this race was about much more than times, margins and prize money.
It can be summed up best by two of the songs played at Paul’s funeral; ‘Simply The Best’ and ‘My Way’.
RIP Paul Wheeler.
Photos by: Clint Anderson
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