But a conversation with owner/breeder Brendan Wheeler, son of late, great breeding legend Paul, changed Delbridge’s mind, and the result is his first Cup finalist.
“I wasn’t even going to worry about the Melbourne Cup,” Delbridge admitted.
“I was going to concentrate on the Silver Chief and then the Sale Cup, because all I want to do is get Yachi Bale and his brother, Zoha Bale, over 600m.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s better than Jarick Bale.”
“But I was speaking to Brendan, and he said it’s not always the best dog that wins the Melbourne Cup, so I put him in the heats.
“Having a runner in the Melbourne Cup is beautiful. We’ve haven’t come close to having a finalist before. We’ve always bombed out in the heats.”
Drawn in box 7 in the second heat, Yachi Bale started at $10.40 and after beginning well and settling in third place, he swept to the front turning for home and charged clear in 29.38sec, the second fastest heat performance, less than half a length off El Dorado’s 29.35sec benchmark.
The son of recently deceased Meadows 525m track record holder Allen Deed has won eight of his 21 starts, including three from five over 515m at Sandown, with his heat time a new PB.
WATCH: “Here he comes again.” YACHI BALE (B7) won his Melbourne Cup heat in barnstorming fashion, charging away from leader ZARA’S IVAN (B2) in 29.38sec to give Mark and Lisa Delbridge their first Cup finalist.
“It just depended on how he got out and he got out super,” Delbridge said.
“Once he was so close, I knew he had every chance, because he’s so strong.”
Delbridge came within half a length of qualifying a second finalist with Nitro Bale run down late by Vice Grip, while Valor Bale, a litter brother to Yachi Bale, also finished second, beaten by Paddy Wants Pats.
After drawing box 4 for the $650,000 to-the-winner Cup Final. Yachi Bale is a $14 outsider with Sportsbet, however Delbridge is bullish about his prospects of celebrating a fairy tale victory with his first runner in the great race.
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“Box 4 is better than box 8!” he quipped.
“They were the only two boxes I had to choose from.
“I think the draw is all right, as long as he begins like he did last week.
“A few people have told me he’s drawn perfectly, because the ‘yellow’ (Fernando Mick) moves off a bit and it should hold the seven (El Dorado) and eight (Paddy Wants Pats) out.
“Plaintiff will probably lead, but if I’m close enough I think I can run it down. I reckon I’m the strongest dog in the race.
“When the markets first went up after the heats, he was $21 and he’s about $15 now. I reckon he’ll start around $8 or maybe even shorter.”
Delbridge and wife Lisa have enjoyed great middle distance and staying success in recent years, with the likes of Group winners Jarick Bale, Christo Bale and Zipping Rambo, and win, lose or draw on Saturday night, he’s extremely confident Yachi Bale will continue that trend.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s better than Jarick Bale,” Delbridge said.
“Zoha Bale (seven from 17) is another Sale Cup contender. He’s probably stronger than Yachi Bale.
“They’re only babies. They’re only two years and two months old, so making our first Melbourne Cup final is a real bonus.
“It’s just another race, but it’s worth a lot more money. That’s the way I’m looking at it.
“The biggest win we’ve had was the (2021) Sandown Cup (Zipping Rambo), which was worth $175,000 to the winner.
“Winning on Saturday night would be sensational, and it would be perfect timing, because we’re in the process of building a new house.”
PAWNOTE: The Wheeler family has won four Melbourne Cups: Kantarn Bale (1999), Dyna Tron (2011), Dyna Villa (2014), and Dyna Double One (2015).
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