After enjoying a stellar 2021, David Geall has started the New Year with a major setback, revealing Melbourne Cup hero Koblenz is in serious doubt for next month’s Group 1 Australian Cup Carnival.
Geall suspected there was an injury issue after Koblenz, winner of 26 of his 41 starts, was beaten at $1.20 at Shepparton on December 27 and x-rays earlier this week confirmed those fears.
“He had an x-ray on Tuesday, which confirmed he’s cracked a metatarsal in his back foot and he won’t be able to run behind a lure for six weeks,” Geall said.
“He was already going to miss the Paws Of Thunder and now he’ll miss the Temlee (February 12). I think he might’ve got a run in the Temlee!
“We’re hoping he can maybe make it back for the Australian Cup heats (February 19), but if he does he will be underdone.
“I knew something was wrong when he was beaten at Shepparton, albeit the winner (Mayhem Lass) ran 25.27sec. We expected Koblenz to run 24.80sec.
“For 30 weeks he jumps and he goes – you could set your clock by him – and that day he jumped and couldn’t go, so I knew there was a reason for it.”
Geall also admits it’s D-Day for Koblenz’s ‘cousin’, three-time country cups winner Ferdinand Boy, at Warrnambool on Saturday night when the recent G1 Hobart Thousand placegetter lines up in the Stars Final (450m).
Boasting an imposing 32 from 62 strike rate, highlighted by victories in the Ballarat, Healesville and Shepparton Cups, Ferdinand Boy has uncharacteristically been beaten at his past seven appearances, five of which were in Tasmania.
Geall concedes Ferdinand Boy was disappointing when a well-beaten third in his Stars heat last weekend and says it will be time for a break if he fails to fire again in the $5000 to-the-winner final (Race 8 at 8.27pm).
“There’s no doubt he was a fair bit off his game last week,” Geall said.
“He’s a quirky dog and didn’t cope well with the change of environment when he went down to Tasmania. He wasn’t happy about being away from home, even though he was with a very good trainer in Sue Gittus.
“I know he was only beaten two lengths in the Hobart Thousand and some people say we should be happy with that, but we know the dog and he just wasn’t showing his usual brilliance.
“He’s had another week back home now and I do expect him to go better on Saturday. But if he doesn’t bounce back we’ll give him a few weeks off.”
David Geall is optimistic Ferdinand Boy will bounce back to his brilliant best in Saturday night’s Warrnambool Stars final.