• Wednesday, 12 Apr, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Kelsey Bale – a ‘Geelong Flyer’?

The Group 2 Sportsbet Geelong Gold Cup (520m) series kicks off with a ‘magnificent seven’ heats on Friday night.

And they loom – particularly by ‘weight of numbers’ – as a Gibbons vs Grenfell scenario. They clash in all seven heats!

Kelsey Bale (Heat 2 – Box 4) – an exhilarating last-to-first winner of the Ballarat Cup – spearheads white-hot Daniel Gibbons’ ‘notable nonet’.

GRV expert form analyst Dale Code – posting on GRV Facebook – rated Kelsey Bale’s performance last week as the “best run he has ever witnessed”.

“Given the position she was in, the quality of opposition and to run the time she did makes it the best run I have ever witnessed,” Code said. It would be an understatement to say it set off an interesting chain of discussion.

Gibbons’ other Geelong Gold Cup heats aspirants are: Heat 1 – Ariarne Bale (Box 4) and Titan Blazer (Box 6); Heat 3 – Lochinvar Cahill (Box 7) and Winnington Bale (Box 8); Heat 4 – Yahiro Bale (Box 7); Heat 5 – Throssell Bale (Box 3); Heat 6 – Mr. Anderson (Box 3); Heat 7 – Piscopo Bale (Box 4).

Meanwhile, Correy and Samantha Grenfell have a squad of eight – albeit seemingly not as strong on paper as the ‘Gibbons gang’ – headed by Kai Bale (Heat 1 – Box 1).

They will also rug: Heat 2 – Joliet Bale (Box 7); Heat 3 – Unathi Bale (Box 5); Heat 4 – Tiggerlong Nibel (Box 1); Heat 5 – Rhino Bale (Box 2); Heat 6 – Nelvin Bale (Box 6) and Quebec Bale (Box 8); Heat 7 – Hasko Bale (Box 1).


And it should be remembered the Grenfells have a fantastic record in recent Geelong Gold Cups.

Yozo Bale won last year’s final with kennelmate Unathi Bale finishing sixth.

He was also runner-up to Weblec Jet in 2021 and eighth to Simon Told Helen in 2020. His kennelmate, Tiggerlong Tonk, finished third.

And Orson Allen was runner-up to Aston Kimetto in 2018.

Below is a heats synopsis:

Heat 1 (Race 3 – 7.50pm)   
Appears a three-way battle between Amron Dan ($2.80F – Box 2), Kai Bale ($3.40) and Titan Blazer ($4.80). Amron Dan (10 from 38) “gets the gun run”, according to form analyst The Watchdog, while Kai Bale (nine from 42) is “drawn to settle close” and four-time G1 finalist Titan Blazer (25 from 69) – recent G3 Mount Gambier Cup winner – “looks the leader”.

Heat 2 (Race 4 – 8.05pm)   
Early markets suggest it’s another ‘triple treat’ courtesy of Kelsey Bale ($2.40F), Crackerjack Boom ($3.50 – Box 3) and Stout Monelli ($3.80 – Box 8). Kelsey Bale (19 from 59) – a dual G2 winner and a G1 third placegetter on two occasions – produced a freakish display in the Ballarat Cup. Crackerjack Boom (seven from 18) is a last-start 29.83sec (Best) winner at The Meadows and has a 29.99sec PB here, while extremely versatile Stout Monelli (39 from 74) – 2022 G2 McKenna Memorial winner – has won three of his past four.

Heat 3 (Race 5 – 8.27pm)    
‘Races in three’ seem the order of the night. Storm Stroller ($2.90F – Box 3) and Boston Garden (Box 1) and Dundee Rebel (Box 4) – both at $3.50 – are all in commission. Storm Stroller (19 from 43) – seventh in last year’s final – has won four from six here, including a 29.86sec PB. Boston Garden (14 from 43) was a 2022 G1 National Derby finalist, while Dundee Rebel (seven from 25) finished fifth in last week’s G3 Launching Pad.

Heat 4 (Race 6 – 8.50pm)  
Somewhat a ‘raffle’ between Stealth ($3.30F – Box 2), Mepunga Warrior ($3.90 – Box 4), Hill Top Jack ($5 – Box 3) and Let’s Win Coin ($6 – Box 5). Four-time Group race finalist Stealth (12 from 31) – G3 Country Championship winner – is unbeaten in two starts here with a 29.97sec PB; Mepunga Warrior (25 from 94) – 2021 Hume Cup (2nd) and 2022 Rookie Rebel (3rd) – won the G3 Easter Gift at his most recent start; Hill Top Jack (29 from 104) – 2022 G2 Launceston Cup winner – was also a finalist in the 2021 G1 Maturity Classic (4th) and 2022 G2 McKenna Memorial (2nd); Let’s Win Coin (10 from 60) was runner-up to megastar Wow She’s Fast in last year’s G1 Sapphire Crown.

WATCH: “What a win!” KELSEY BALE (B7) produces a ‘see it to believe it’ Ballarat Cup victory last week.

Heat 5 (Race 7 – 9.05pm)    
Simply a ‘pick-it-with-a-pin affair’ between $4.40 equal favourites Rhino Bale and Bobby Axelrod (Box 4), and Mepunga Mustang (Box 5) and Salad Dodger (Box 6) – both at $4.60. Rhino Bale (eight from 21) was runner-up in the Easter Gift; Bobby Axelrod (20 from 37) finished sixth in the Ballarat Cup; Mepunga Mustang (21 from 61) was third in last year’s G2 Warrnambool Cup; Salad Dodger (17 from 44) – a six-time Group race finalist – was runner-up in last year’s G2 Bendigo Cup.

Heat 6 (Race 8 – 9.27pm)
Yet another ‘triumvirate’ poised to battle it out – Blue Demon ($2.70F – Box 1), Magic Muffin ($2.90 – Box 7) and Captain Larry ($3.60 – Box 2). Blue Demon (seven from 25) reached semi-final stage of the Launching Pad; Magic Muffin (six from 13) has ‘risen’ to a Launching Pad Runway final; Captain Larry (17 from 38) was a finalist in this year’s G1 Australian Cup.

Heat 7 (Race 9 – 9.51pm)
Finally, a red-hot favourite – Rejuvenate ($1.50 – Box 3). Dubbed the “next big thing”, Rejuvenate (17 from 21 – plus three second placings) won the 2022 G3 Northern Districts Cup and was a finalist in last year’s G1 Silver Chief. He also won the Shepparton Classic on March 4 in a scintillating 24.59sec – establishing a new 450m track record.

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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