• Tuesday, 21 Dec, 2021,
  • by Greyhound Racing Victoria

There’s only one Fernando Bale

Sixteen all-time great greyhounds led by arguably the greatest of them all, Fernando Bale, recently gathered at Sandown Park in what will be remembered as an unprecedented moment in history.

The gathering was the idea of Sandown Veterinary Clinic’s reproduction coordinator, Melanie Tochner, who was instrumental in founding the Greyhound Adoption Program.

It’s fair to say that COVID-19 lockdown affected people differently, but few more so than Melanie, who penned a song about the “most valuable greyhound in the world” — the great Fernando Bale (2014-15 Australian GOTY and 2015-16 Victorian GOTY).

Trained by Andrea Dailly, Fernando Bale (Mar ’13 Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen) raced on 44 occasions for 35 wins, three seconds and two thirds with stakes totalling $1,299,370.

He sits third on Australia’s top prizemoney list, behind another all-time great – Fanta Bale ($1,365,175) – who is the sport’s highest earner.

Fernando Bale contested a staggering nine G1 finals and won eight!

Fernando Bale contested a staggering nine G1 finals and won eight!

The only one he didn’t win was the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Sandown when a half-length second to kennelmate Dyna Double One in a battle royal deserving ‘Race of the Century’ status.

And he’s gone on to become one of the sport’s most successful sires – including progeny the ilk of Whiskey Riot, Sennachie, Up Hill Jill, My Redeemer, Tornado Tears, Tommy Shelby, Do It, Wow, Lakeview Walter, Fernando Bluey, Fernando Cazz, Poke The Bear, Dyna Patty, Ferdinand Boy and Sunset Bourbski, to name just a few.

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club heard about the song, loved it, and had it professionally recorded.

Then an idea snowballed from there…

Mel had always dreamt of gathering some of Australia’s best greyhounds – just to see them all together. So, she invited 19 of the top trainers, breeders and their dogs to Sandown after the 2021 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup to shoot a video featuring Mel’s song – “Fernando is the greatest sire” (sung to Billy Joel’s tune – “We didn’t start the fire”).

Sixteen of the group leapt at the chance to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Champions gathered at Sandown Park for the monumental occasion.

And what a line up: The star of the show Fernando Bale, Houdini Boy, Neo Cleo, Orson Allen, Hooked On Scotch, Whiskey Riot, Mystic Riot, Up Hill Jill, Black Opium, Aston Dee Bee, Fabregas, Sennachie, Hard Style Rico, Tornado Tears, My Redeemer and the reigning Melbourne Cup winner, Koblenz.

Their cumulative stakes total a mammoth $11,090,432.

The gathering was also a chance for Koblenz coming together with his family (mum and dual G1 winner Up Hill Jill and dad Fernando Bale) – indeed, an amazing racing pedigree!

Trained by David Geall, Koblenz – a winner of 26 from 40, ran 3rd in the inaugural TAB Phoenix at The Meadows on Saturday night.

The “Fernando Bale is the greatest sire” video is still in production and is sure to be a hit with the greyhound community.

*This article was written by Tony Homfray & Peter Quilty

Koblenz (David Geall) with his sire Fernando Bale (Paul Westerveld).

Greyhound Racing VictoriaGreyhound Racing Victoria

Greyhound Racing Victoria

GRV regulates the sport of greyhound racing in the state of Victoria under the Racing Act 1958 (Act), which includes setting standards and ensuring they are met by participants.

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