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Sale Cup Final: Armchair Guide

Chasing a second Group 1 Gold FM Sale Cup title on Sunday night, Jeff Britton is cautiously optimistic it will be a case of third time lucky on the Group 1 stage for TAB’s $2.20 favourite Mepunga Ruby in the Boxing Day showpiece.

Britton won the Sale Cup in 2014 with classy Western Australian Star Recall, while his GRV Hall Of Fame inductee father Allan and brother Robert have also won the event in 1997 and 2010 with Shannen’s Storm and Symmetry respectively.

Mepunga Ruby (Box 1) has been racing in elite staying company since August, winning the Group 3 Speed Star (725m) at The Meadows, running third in the Group 1 Bold Trease final and sixth in the Group 1 Topgun Stayers, incredibly missing a place just once in her last 19 starts.

Mepunga Ruby dropped back from ‘700’ for last Sunday’s Cup heats, where she finished strongly at her Sale debut to score in 37.37sec, the ‘slowest’ of the four run-offs, and then ‘drew’ Box 1 for the $75,000 to-the-winner final.

Click HERE  for TAB’s latest Sale Cup Final market

“She was the last one left, so Craig (Solkhon, kennel representative) didn’t have to choose,” Jeff Britton said of the box draw.

“I’d rather be drawn there. Boxes win these races. If Do It had ‘the red’ in the (Group 1) Hobart Thousand last week I think he would’ve won by three or four lengths.

“I trialled Mepunga Ruby at Sale last week but she looked like she was still feeling her way around in her heat.

“She rails fairly well on the city tracks but I trialled her off ‘the red’ and she wanted to get out to Box 4 and she seemed to do the same thing in her heat.

“She went into the first corner running second and came out fourth. You can’t do that.

“Sale can be a tricky track up the back but once she got around there she really took off.

“I really want ‘700’ with her now. She keeps getting stronger. But over 650m, there’s a lot more pace in the race. I think Untapped (Box 5) will probably lead but hopefully we’ll be running first or second and then we’ve got to worry about Zac’s Entity (Box 6).”

KEY TIMES

6:35pm First race
7:35pm Cup Night Match Race (Race 4)
7:57pm Rising Stars Final (Race 5)
8:17pm Summer Cup Final (Race 6)
8:39pm John Waugh Festival Launch Final (Race 7)
8:58pm G1 Sale Cup Final (Race 8)
10:29pm Last race (Race 12)

20211219 Gypsy Wyong

GYPSY WYONG 📷 is up against GRACLYN BALE in the Cup Night Match Race.

Zac’s Entity, which is trained by Kel Greenough, who is eyeing back-to-back Sale Cup victories after Houdini Boy was successful in 2020, is undoubtedly the query runner.

After incurring the wrath of the stewards in the Group 1 Topgun Stayers, the lightly-raced talent made his return in last weekend’s heats and did just enough to win in 37.14sec, edging out Group 1 Hume Cup winner Knicks Bale (Box 3).

HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
– Live broadcast from the track with Troy Harley, Brooke Ennis and Corey Smith on GRV’s Facebook page and The Watchdog app.
– Watch every race live and free on Sky Racing and at watchdog.grv.org.au.
– Behind the scenes Twitter coverage on ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
– Live coverage on the ‘Sale Sundays’ show on SEN Track (1593 AM) with Jason Bonnington, Mitch Ebeyer and Rob Popplestone.
– Regular updates with Trent Langskaill on RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM).

Knicks Bale, trained by Correy and Samantha Grenfell, is one of three ‘Bale’ finalists, along with Mark Delbridge’s fastest qualifier Jarick Bale (Box 8) and Andrea Dailly’s Drako Bale (Box 4), which is striving to go one better than his illustrious mother Fanta Bale, runner-up in the 2017 final.

Local support will be with hometown hero Omega Tyson (Box 7), which is trained, owned and bred by Barry and Heather Harper at Seaspray.

Here’s a rundown of the contenders:

Group 1 SALE CUP FINAL (650m)
Sale, Sunday 8:58pm
First prize $75,000

1 MEPUNGA RUBY
Trainer: Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC
Breeding: March 2019 Fernando Bale x Mepunga Rosie
Record: Won 15 from 25
Sale PB: 37.37 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $2.20

Comment: Developed into one of the nation’s best stayers, finishing unplaced only once (Group 1 Topgun Stayers) since stepping up to ‘700’ in August. Found the line strongly on debut at Sale in 37.37sec heat victory and drawn to get every chance to open Group 1 account at third attempt. Deserved favourite.

2 MY MARGARITA
Trainer: Steve White, Buln Buln East VIC
Breeding: December 2018 Bekim Bale x My Bella Rose
Record: Won 8 from 35
Sale PB: 37.09 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $41

Comment: Former New South Wales stayer that qualified for Group 2 Sydney Cup final in October prior to relocating to Victoria. Started at $26 in heat when came from last early to run a close second to Mepunga Ruby. Outsider of the field and depth is likely to test him.

3 KNICKS BALE
Trainer: Samantha Grenfell, Anakie VIC
Breeding: December 2018 Kinda Cruel Red x Dyna Willow
Record: Won 16 from 77
Sale PB: No 650m wins
TAB fixed odds: $8

Comment: Enjoying a remarkable late career purple patch that sees her contesting third Group 1 final in two months, including emotion-charged victory in Hume Cup on the day of her legendary breeder Paul Wheeler’s funeral. Was grabbed on the line by Zac’s Entity in heat and has each-way claims.

4 DRAKO BALE
Trainer: Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC
Breeding: April 2019 Dyna Villa x Fanta Bale
Record: Won 6 from 43
Sale PB: No 650m wins
TAB fixed odds: $21

Comment: Professional placegetter that hasn’t won since July but was beaten less than a length by Omega Tyson in heat, coming from midfield. Also qualified for Group 1 Bold Trease final at Sandown Park last month after running second in heat to another rival here in Untapped. Minor claims again appear best.

5 UNTAPPED
Trainer: Dustin Drew, Dennington VIC
Breeding: April 2019 Aston Dee Bee x Mepunga Fame
Record: Won 10 from 34
Sale PB: No 650m wins
TAB fixed odds: $7

Comment: Consistent middle distance performer that has made impressive leap to elite company in Group 1 Bold Trease series over 715m, leading all-the-way to win heat and leading again when fourth in final. Led until home turn in heat when runner-up to fastest qualifier Jarick Bale. Looks likely to be the ‘lamplighter’ again and should give another great sight.

6 ZAC’S ENTITY
Trainer: Kel Greenough, Pearcedale VIC
Breeding: May 2019 Fernando Bale x Zara’s Entity
Record: Won 5 from 9
Sale PB: 36.95 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $4.80

Comment: Enormous ability but question marks surround the lightly-raced talent after racing erratically in Group 1 Topgun Stayers. Resumed from break in heat when claiming Knicks Bale on the line. If his mind is on the job, he can definitely win. Certain to be the cynosure of all eyes.

7 OMEGA TYSON
Trainer: Barry Harper, Seaspray VIC
Breeding: August 2018 My Bro Fabio x My Superstar
Record: Won 11 from 26
Sale PB: 37.22 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $21

Comment: Will carry the hopes of the locals after continuing consistent recent form in heat victory. Experience at the track is a plus and only missed a place once in last 10 starts but the move from Box 1 in heat to an outside alley in final isn’t ideal. Others likely to have his measure.

8 JARICK BALE
Trainer: Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC
Breeding: March 2019 Allen Deed x Houston Bale
Record: Won 18 from 50
Sale PB: 36.72 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $6

Comment: Was a near-record 36.72sec heat winner of Sale Distance Championship over this course before unlucky fourth in final. Bounced back when claiming heat honours from this draw. One of the key players and with luck from the draw should be in the finish.

Reserves
9 INVICTUS RISING     SCRATCHED
Trainer: Garry Selkrig, Devon Meadows VIC
Breeding: December 2018 Invictus Rapid x Jubilation
Record: Won 16 from 37
Sale PB: 36.99 seconds
TAB fixed odds: $8

Comment: Powerful sprinter that’s made an impressive transition to middle distance ranks, winning three straight over this course and distance, including Sale Distance Championship final, before close-up third in Zac’s Entity’s heat. Definite each-way prospects if a starter.

10 ASTON ULYSSES     SCRATCHED
Trainer: Paul Abela, Parwan VIC
Breeding: November 2018 Aston Dee Bee x Sweet It Is
Record: Won 16 from 49
Sale PB: No 650m wins
TAB fixed odds: $15

Comment: Capable type and while he hasn’t yet delivered on the distance potential he demonstrated earlier in the year, wouldn’t be without a chance if he secured a start.

SALE CUP HEAT WINNERS
Sunday 19 December
(fastest to slowest):

37.13sec Jarick Bale 📷
37.14sec Zac’s Entity
37.22sec Omega Tyson
37.37sec Mepunga Ruby

20211219 Jarick Bale

WATCH: James Van de Maat’s 2021 Gold FM Sale Cup preview.

RECENT SALE CUP WINNERS
2011 Mystic Apple (Val Awramenko, Leopold VIC)
2012 Destini Fireball (Emilio Rinaldi, Lethbridge VIC)
2013 Dyna Nalin (Paul Stuart, Nambeelup WA)
2014 Star Recall (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie VIC)
2015 No Donuts (Bradley Canty, Cardiff NSW)
2016 Dundee Osprey (Geoffrey Scott-Smith, Pakenham South VIC)
2017 Quick Jagger (Christopher Halse, Nambeelup WA)
2018 Neo Cleo (Wendy Neocleous, Hazelwood North VIC)
2019 Weblec Eagle (Matthew Lanigan, Anakie VIC)
2020 Houdini Boy (Kel Greenough, Pearcedale 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

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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