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  • Thursday, 13 Apr, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Rhino leads Grenfells’ Cup charge

Rising star Rhino Bale – “the best bred dog in Australia” – will lead young local trainers Correy and Samantha Grenfell’s quest for back-to-back victories in the Group 2 Sportsbet Geelong Gold Cup (520m).

Last year, the Anakie husband-and-wife team celebrated an emotion-charged triumph in their hometown feature courtesy of veteran marvel Yozo Bale.

Amazingly, it was Yozo Bale’s 93rd start and third appearance in the Cup, including a runner-up finish in 2021, while the Grenfells also ran third in 2020 with Tiggerlong Tonk and second in 2018 with Orson Allen.

Looking to defend the title, the Grenfells boast eight contenders in Friday night’s seven Cup heats.

“Rhino Bale is the most exciting dog we’ve got in the kennel. I haven’t been this excited since Tiggerlong Tonk retired.”

Sportsbet markets identify their best chance as the regally-bred Rhino Bale, a January ’21 son of Hall Of Famers Fernando Bale and Fanta Bale, the champion duo combining for $2.66 million prizemoney and 17 Group 1 titles.

And Correy Grenfell agrees, predicting a huge future for the blueblood.

“Rhino Bale is the most exciting dog we’ve got in the kennel!” he said.

“I haven’t been this excited since Tiggerlong Tonk retired.

“He’d be the best bred dog in Australia. He’s still a baby but it looks like he’s going to be a star.

“He’s a very competitive dog and he’s versatile too. I think he’s going to be like his mother, Fanta Bale, and whatever distance you put him over he’s going to be competitive.”

WATCH: RHINO BALE (B3) charged away from kennelmate KAI BALE (B7) over 595m at Sandown Park on March 23, giving trainer Correy Grenfell the quinella with his G2 Geelong Cup contenders.

After a relatively slow start to his career, winning only one of his first ten, Rhino Bale reeled off six straight wins at The Meadows and Sandown Park, four over middle distances, and has an impressive eight from 21 record.

At his most recent appearance, Rhino Bale came from last to run second, beaten less than one length, in the G3 Easter Gift at Sandown last Thursday.

Rhino Bale is $3.70 favourite from box 2 in heat five (race 7, 9.05pm), where his main rivals include last start G2 Ballarat Cup finalists Bobby Axelrod (box 4) and Salad Dodger (box 6) at $4.40 and $4.60 respectively.

“He was just a battler through pre-training, but then he came out and won a maiden at Geelong in 22.44sec and I was thinking ‘Where did that come from?’” Grenfell said.

“I dropped him back to ‘500’ for the Easter Gift to get the sprint back in his legs and it was a ridiculous run. His last 50 metres was just humungous!

“Box two is real good for his heat. ‘The red’ (Never Be Alone) is the early leader and if Rhino Bale sits behind it, I think he’ll be a very good winner!”

The other Grenfell contender at single figures in heat betting is Kai Bale, which is the $3.70 second elect from box one in the opening heat.

Click HERE for Sportsbet’s Geelong Gold Cup heat markets

“Kai Bale is a very fast dog,” Grenfell said.

“He has a couple of bad habits with his box manners. He’s hit and miss, but they’ve given him ‘the red’ and if he’s within three or four lengths he’ll keep coming.

Tiggerlong Nibel and Hasko Bale have also got ‘the red’. Tiggerlong Nibel is slow early and strong too, and while Hasko Bale isn’t quite at this Group level, ‘the red’ brings her into the game.

“The other advantage our dogs have is that we do our pre-training on the inside track at Geelong, so they could go around there with their eyes closed!”

The Grenfells’ heat contingent are:
Heat 1: Kai Bale (box 1) – $3.70
Heat 2: Joliet Bale (box 7) – $46
Heat 3: Unathi Bale (box 5) – $17
Heat 4: Tiggerlong Nibel (box 1) – $11
Heat 5: Rhino Bale (box 2) – $3.70F
Heat 6: Nelvin Bale (box 6) – $14 and Quebec Bale (box 8) – $15
Heat 7: Hasko Bale (box 1) – $19

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

Gerard Guthrie

One of Australia’s leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)

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