Country cups king Ferdinand Boy will take aim at an amazing fourth provincial crown after a dominant display in his heat of the Group 2 Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Cup (450m) on Thursday night.
Ferdinand Boy, trained at Lara by owner/breeder David Geall, was a three-time country cups winner in 2021, with victories at Ballarat, Healesville and Shepparton earning him a $50,000 bonus for claiming three cups in a calendar year.
In 2022, the prolific son of champion sire Fernando Bale has already qualified for the Traralgon, Shepparton, and Ballarat Cup finals, but finished unplaced on each occasion.
After running second in both his Cup heat and the Cup Night Match Race at Warrnambool last year, Ferdinand Boy made amends in the seventh of eight heats held on Thursday.
Drawn in Box 1 for only the fifth time in his stellar career and the first time in 42 starts, dating back to May 21 last year, Ferdinand Boy started $1.80 favourite and led all-the-way in 24.98sec, one of only two sub-25sec qualifying efforts.
It was his 42nd career victory from 78 starts and sixth from ten appearances over Warrnambool’s Cup course.
Ferdinand Boy was the first leg of a heat double for Geall in the final two run-offs, with Fernando Mick, runner-up in the G1 Maturity Classic last year and a Cranbourne and Horsham Cup finalist, taking out the last qualifier in 25.00sec.
Other highlights from Thursday night’s heats included:
- Track specialist Mepunga Mustang, raced by local breeding legend Barry Smith (Mepunga East), bred by George Farrugia, and trained by Jeff Britton, continued his love affair with Warrnambool with a runaway Best Of Night 24.93sec victory, his seventh win from eight starts over the 450m circuit.
- Runaway Ballarat Cup winner Compliance, trained by schoolteacher Karen Pitt, qualified for his third country cup final this year when clinging on in a desperately tight finish as $1.30 favourite, edging out Nikoli Bale in 25.03sec.
- Four heat winners qualified for their first country cup final – Astro Boy (Jessica Sharp), Fearless Rory (Ashlee Terry, whose partner Nathan Rooney raced 2011 Warrnambool Cup winner Arsonist), Jerwood Bale (Rebecca Gibbons) and Mepunga Mustang (Jeff Britton).
(fastest to slowest)
- 24.93sec Mepunga Mustang
- 24.98sec Ferdinand Boy
- 25.00sec Fernando Mick
- 25.02sec Fearless Rory
- 25.03sec Compliance
- 25.03sec Jerwood Bale
- 25.18sec Astro Boy
- 25.25sec Old News
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