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  • Wednesday, 20 Apr, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

Yozo – ‘The Sentimental Bloke’

Champion ‘old stager’ Yozo Bale is having an incredible third consecutive crack at the $74,800 Group 2 Geelong Gold Cup final (520m) – Race 8, 9.27pm – on Friday night.

The ‘country cups king’, which turned four in late March, is not only the equal Cup favourite. He will also be ‘the sentimental bloke’ – at his 93rd start – in the $50,000 to-the-winner event.

He’s won 30 races (with 28 seconds and six thirds) – including the 2020 G2 Bendigo Cup and 2020 G2 Ballarat Cup – and $330,101 in prizemoney. Earlier this month, he finished second in the G2 Ballarat Cup.

Yozo Bale (Box 3), which produced the second fastest heat time (29.85sec) last week, and Kysaiah (Box 5), which was the quickest qualifier (29.75sec), are both $2.70 on TAB’s fixed odds market.

One of six finalists from the Geelong region, Yozo Bale was runner-up last year and finished eighth in 2020.

Based at Anakie, the popular ‘local hero’ is prepared by young training genius Correy Grenfell, 28, who no one would begrudge winning his ‘hometown cup’.

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He’s also finished second with Orson Allen (2018) – a greyhound he attributes as “putting him on the map in the sport” – and third with ‘ultimate professional’ Tiggerlong Tonk (2020).

Grenfell also has unheralded $16 chance Unathi Bale (Box 8) in this year’s final.

But Grenfell is really hoping Yozo Bale can go one better than last year – when he also wore the ‘white’ rug – and provide him with his first Geelong Gold Cup.

“He’s going as good as he was 12 months ago.”

“He’s going as good as he was 12 months ago,” Grenfell said. “He’s all class and to be where he is at his age is unbelievable.

“Winning (the Cup) at this stage of his career would be the ‘icing on the cake’; it would be special. Geelong is also our home track, so it would be a big thrill.”

According to Grenfell, Yozo Bale will need to follow Aston Merit (Box 2) through in the early stages.

GROUP 2 GEELONG GOLD CUP (520m)
Friday 22 April – $50,000 to the winner

  1. WINNINGTON BALE (Rebecca Gibbons, Avalon)
  2. ASTON MERIT (Jessica Sharp, Avalon)
  3. YOZO BALE (Correy Grenfell, Anakie)
  4. SUBSTANTIAL (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley)
  5. KYSAIAH (Carly Feltham, Devon Meadows)
  6. STORM STROLLER (Paul Bartolo, Little River)
  7. EMANI BALE (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon)
  8. UNATHI BALE (Correy Grenfell, Anakie)

Reserves

  1. WEBLEC RANGER (Angela Langton, Anakie)
  2. TITAN BLAZER (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon)

Heat winners
(fastest to slowest)

Kysaiah – 29.75sec
Yozo Bale – 29.85sec
Aston Merit – 29.97sec
Emani Bale – 29.99sec
Unathi Bale – 30.04sec
Winnington Bale – 30.13sec

“That’s the key to his race … And I think Unathi Bale may cause some ‘carnage’.

“He’ll be heading towards the rail by the first turn. On his first two splits, he’s one of the fastest dogs in the final.

“He’s a flying machine early and will run a cheeky race. But he’s not strong over ‘500’.”

Grenfell admits the ‘curtain call’ for Yozo Bale is imminent.

WATCH: Evergreen YOZO BALE (1) reveals class and courage staving off Shepparton Cup winner SUBSTANTIAL (8) in a Geelong Gold Cup heat.

“He’s close to retirement, but I’ve nominated him for the Masters Meteor at Wentworth Park in Sydney and I’m also contemplating the Warrnambool Cup. A win in either may see him out.

“But ideally, I’d like to get him to 100 starts – that would be a real milestone.”

Pawnote: The Geelong Gold Cup – third leg of the ‘Western Festival of Racing’ – heads a gala night of racing along with the following support features: Gary Brett Memorial Match Race (520m) – Titan Blazer vs Orlando – $10,000 winner-take-all; Cup Night Distance S/E (680m) – Winner: $6300.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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