• Friday, 06 May, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Gold’ for McKeon?

Victoria’s ‘Team Gibbons’ is quietly confident their Group final ‘curse’ will end at Wentworth Park in Sydney on Saturday night.

Based at Avalon, husband-and-wife – and former pro-wrestlers – Daniel and Rebecca Gibbons are yet to ‘takedown’ black type success.

It’s been the only frustration during their short, albeit rewarding, training careers.

But there’s more than a glimmer of hope littermates McKeon Bale and Quinlan Bale can snare finals of the Group 3 Ladies Bracelet (Race 4, 7.35pm) and Group 3 Bob Payne Sprint (Race 5, 7.56pm). Both events, over 520m, carry a $25,000 first prize.

Last week, the young June ’20 Feral Franky-Ethla Allen speedsters clocked identical 30.07sec heat wins.

Subsequently, McKeon Bale (Box 1) is the $3.30 second elect on TAB fixed odds for the Bracelet while Quinlan Bale (Box 3) is the $3.40 favourite for the Bob Payne.

McKeon Bale is named after Australia’s most decorated Olympian – Emma McKeon.

Ironically, she’s been going along ‘swimmingly’ with six wins from 12 starts – including sizzling 29.28sec (Sandown Park) and 29.82sec (The Meadows) personal bests.

“She couldn’t have drawn any better. She’s a good beginner and hugs the rails.”

And Daniel Gibbons is anticipating she’ll keep her ‘head above water’ in the Ladies Bracelet.

“I’ll be rapt if both win, but I think McKeon Bale is our best chance,” he said.

“She couldn’t have drawn any better. She’s a good beginner and hugs the rails… And she’s getting smarter with each run.”

Meanwhile, Quinlan Bale is matching his ‘sister’ in the talent stakes.

He’s won five races from nine starts and was a recent G3 Mount Gambier Cup finalist.

As for Quinlan Bale’s box draw, Gibbons said: I don’t think it’s too bad, although I don’t know too much about the ‘two’ and ‘four’.

“He’s a really quick dog and if he gets a clear run, he’s a great chance.”

Both sprinters have a blueblood pedigree. Their sire, NSW superstar Feral Franky, contested five G1 finals including victory in the 2019 Vic Peters Classic.

And their dam, Ethla Allen, is a litter sister of Daithy Allen (3rd– 2017 G1 National Futurity) – the dam of dual G1 winner Qwara Bale.

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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