• Thursday, 09 Jun, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

King of Diamonds?

Lara trainer David Geall plays his ‘trump card’ – Ferdinand Boy – in a Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter heat (450m) at Shepparton tonight.

Last year, the ‘country cups king’ – winner of four G2 provincial cups – finished third in the inaugural Pink Diamond Champion Short Course final (425m) at Bendigo.

But when all the cards are laid on the table this year, will he become ‘King of Diamonds’?

Chasing his seventh straight win, Ferdinand Boy (Box 2) is engaged in Race 8 (7.25pm) and faces two formidable foes – Panama Canal (Box 5) and Idolize (Box 7).

On TAB fixed odds, Ferdinand Boy is $2.10F, ahead of Panama Canal ($2.70) and Idolize ($4.60).

First and second in this heat will proceed to the Champion Sprinter final (450m), which carries a $75,000 first prize, at Ballarat on Friday, June 17.

Ferdinand Boy, a winner of 46 races from 82 starts, relishes the Shepparton circuit – as he does with most ‘horseshoe’ tracks. In fact, he won last year’s G2 Shepparton Cup.

He’s won six from nine on this track/distance with a 24.75sec PB. And he’s a former track record holder here. And he’s nine from 13 exiting the ‘check’ alley.

Meanwhile, Panama Canal – trained by Jessica Hopkins at Junction Village – is striving for an amazing 13 wins in a row at only his 14th start. He finished third on race debut.

G1 National Futurity winner Idolize – prepared by Peter Presutto at Devon Meadows – is also partial to Shepparton, having won three from four over the 450m trip with a 25.01sec PB.

“Shepparton is where he’s run his quickest times on one-bend tracks.”

A winner of 15 from 28, including six of her past 10, Idolize hasn’t tasted defeat in four starts from the ‘black’ trap.

However, Geall is feeling buoyant on the chances of Ferdinand Boy – albeit highly respectful of his main rivals.

“Shepparton is where he’s run his quickest times on one-bend tracks… He really pushes out hard to the line over 450m here,” he said.

“He does prefer the inside, one or two, but seven or eight also suits because he doesn’t ‘crash to the fence’. But he drives up hard, even when he misses it, when drawn near the rail.”

In ominous words, Geall added Ferdinand Boy is “going just as good as this time last year”.


“But now he’s got to step up and take on the brilliant youngsters coming through.

“He’s such a great chaser; he doesn’t brown off or fade. He just wants to race, that’s all he wants to do in his life.”

Geall is extremely mindful of the talents of Panama Canal and Idolize.

“I think whoever leads out of Ferdinand Boy and Panama Canal will probably win. Panama Canal is so explosive and reminds me of Mr. Audacious.

“But Idolize could make it difficult as she’s so reliable. If she recaptures her pre-Golden Easter Egg final form, then she’s right in it.”

The $1.175m Vic Breeders Pink Diamond series also continues at Warragul this afternoon and at Bendigo and Geelong tomorrow.

A highlight of the Warragul program is the tete-a-tete between Mr. Audacious ($2.10F) and Compliance ($3.10) in a Champion Sprinter heat (460m) – Race 8, 5.32pm.

Meanwhile, the Geelong fixture features a couple of magical match-ups.

Untapped vs Collinda Patty in a Champion Distance heat (680m) – Race 4, 8.13pm – along with Titan Blazer vs Zippy Tesla vs Mepunga Mustang in a Champion Sprinter heat (460m) – Race 8, 9.32pm.

Pawnote: Geall also has Hill Top Jonnie (Rookie Sprinter heat) at Shepparton, and Fernando Mick (Champion Sprinter heat), Busted Billy (Rookie Short Course heat) and Thank You Jill (Challenger Sprinter semi-final) at Geelong.

And he’s confident all four will acquit themselves well.
Geall won the inaugural Pink Diamond Rookie Sprinter (500m) title with G1 Melbourne Cup hero, Koblenz.

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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