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  • Thursday, 17 Mar, 2022,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Delbridge’s Classic Dubbo quest

Dual Group 1 winner Jarick Bale can confirm his status as Australia’s premier middle distance greyhound in Saturday night’s inaugural Stockman & Paddock Country Classic final (605m), being staged in Dubbo.

Trained by Mark Delbridge, Jarick Bale will lead an imposing Victorian trio in the world’s richest middle distance race, with Immunity and Aston Ulysses also eyeing off the $125,000 winner’s purse.

Jarick Bale, a half-brother to former Delbridge-trained 600m dynamo Christo Bale, has claimed two of the most prestigious middle distance events on the calendar in recent months.

He won the Sale Cup (650m) in December and Rookie Rebel invitational (600m) during the recent Australian Cup Carnival, after which Delbridge immediately targeted the rich Country Classic, putting a possible staying career on hold.

“I think we’ve got the best 600m dog going around.”

“It’s great prizemoney and I think we’ve got the best 600m dog going around, so we would’ve been crazy not to have a go at it,” said Delbridge.

“After he won the Rookie Rebel, we decided to concentrate on this race.

“We could’ve gone to Temora for the heats, but we took him up to Dubbo because that’s where the final was going to be held. Hopefully it pays off.

“Dubbo is about a ten and a half hour trip, non-stop, but we’ll stay at the Wheelers’ place (near Boorowa) and then go the rest of the way on Saturday.”

Click HERE  for TAB’s latest Country Classic market

Heats of the Classic were held at NSW regional venues, with Jarick Bale running second as odds-on favourite in heat and semi-final at Dubbo.

Immunity, trained by Jason Thompson, and Aston Ulysses, prepared by Paul Abela, duelled in the Temora heat, where G1 Australian Cup finalist Immunity broke the 570m record, before last weekend’s semis at Dubbo.

Aston Ulysses upset Jarick Bale in 34.83sec in the first of four semi-finals, with Immunity winning the second qualifier in the same time.

The other two semi winners were Chase Me Honey (34.57sec) and Fantastic Raven (34.87sec).

WATCH: JARICK BALE (3) stamped himself as Australia’s number one middle distance performer when winning the G1 Rookie Rebel (600m) at The Meadows on February 12.

After drawing Box 3 for the second week running, Jarick Bale is TAB’s $4.40 second elect, behind NSW star Zipping Kyrgios (Box 1), the $2.30 favourite.

Immunity (Box 5) is $7, with Aston Ulysses (Box 6) an $11 chance.

“I really think he should run first or second,” Delbridge said bullishly.

“I suppose ‘the red’ (Zipping Kyrgios) is the one to beat.

“I wanted to draw one, two or three. If he’d drawn six, seven or eight, I probably would’ve said he had no hope. Shayne Stiff (Dubbo President) told me it’s very hard to get across.

COUNTRY CLASSIC FINAL (605m)
Saturday, Dubbo Race 8, 9.40pm – First prize $125,000

1 ZIPPING KYRGIOS (John Finn, Cranebrook NSW)
2 IMPATIENT DEVIL (Troy Provost, The Oaks NSW)
3 JARICK BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
4 FANTASTIC RAVEN (Jason Mackay, Kurri Kurri NSW)
5 IMMUNITY (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
6 ASTON ULYSSES (Paul Abela, Parwan VIC)
7 CHASE ME HONEY (Michael Hardman, Parkesbourne NSW)
8 ZIPPING ALABAMA (John Finn, Cranebrook NSW)
Reserves
9 SUPER ESTRELLA (David Smith, Elderslie NSW)
10 COAST MODEL (Jodie Lord, Gunning NSW)

“Jarick Bale also had Box 3 last week, but the two moved off and then everything else came down on top of him. If he’d waited and gone underneath Aston Ulysses, he probably would’ve won by two or three.

“He’s still got to do everything right, but even if I’m running second to Zipping Kyrgios, I think I can run him down. He’s only having his third go over 600m, whereas I’ve got the experience over 600m and the strength at the finish.

“We weren’t going to step him up before this race, but we’ll probably have to after Saturday.

“We’ll look at the (G1) Association Cup heats up in Sydney and if he can run the ‘700’ we’ll come back to NSW for the $500,000 race (The 715m, to be run at The Gardens in June)!”

Jarick Bale winning the Sale Cup, the first of his two Group 1 victories.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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