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Gibbons ‘plays it straight’ at Healesville

Avalon’s ‘Team Gibbons’ could finally break their much-documented Group race ‘hoodoo’ after litter brothers Quinlan Bale and Nicolson Bale quinellaed the $15,250 Victorian Straight Track Championship final (350m) at Healesville on Sunday.

It was a classic case of sibling rivalry, with Quinlan Bale ($3.30F) obtaining a $10,000 first prize and ‘bragging rights’ – but only just – over the fast-finishing Nicolson Bale ($3.40), which was seventh in the early stages.

Both are trained by Daniel Gibbons, who walked away with $13,000 in 19.42sec courtesy of the Jun ’20 Feral Franky-Ethla Allen speedsters.

A dual G3 finalist, Quinlan Bale – which was the fastest qualifier – notched his 11th win from 24 starts, including six of his past 10. His stakes jumped to $47,520.

The ‘dynamic duo’ will now represent Victoria in the $25,000 to-the-winner Group 3 National Straight Track Championship (324m) at Richmond, NSW, on August 27.

Meanwhile, in a memorable day of racing at the picturesque Yarra Valley venue, ‘country cups king’ Ferdinand Boy and Healesville 300m track record holder Kepal staged a battle royal in a Free For All (350m).

Kepal ($2.90) – prepared at Exford by John Barbara – prevailed by 0.3L over Ferdinand Boy ($2.40F) in a slick 19.30sec. The Listed Pink Diamond Champion Short Course third placegetter registered his 23rd win from 37 starts, including 10 of his past 13, and remains unbeaten from four starts here over 350m.

And champion Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson produced an early ‘bow’ for next weekend’s The Arrow (350m) match-race series when Unleash Collinda ($2.10F) and Sandy Camp Road ($2.20) went 1-2 in a Mixed 4/5 (350m).

Unleash Collinda – a litter brother of Gippsland golden-haired boy Mr. Audacious – saluted by 4.1L in 19.22sec (Best). It was his fourth win from only eight starts.

Pawnote: The Victorian Straight Track Championship series opened Healesville’s Festival of Racing, which also features The Arrow match race series (August 21), the Highway 31 Maiden Challenge (heats, August 21) and culminates with the G2 Healesville Cup (heats, September 4).

WATCH: QUINLAN BALE (B4) staves off sibling NICOLSON BALE (B2) in an exciting climax to the Victorian Straight Track Championship series.

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About 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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