LUCA Neveelk has given Gerald Kleeven his first win at Group 1 level after nearly 50 years in the greyhound racing industry, taking out Saturday’s Australian Cup at The Meadows.
The blue chaser began uncharacteristically slow by his standards from box four and was outpaced in the first few strides by Lamia Bale (box eight) with Recruitment (box six) also punching up near the lead in the run to the winning post on the first occasion. However, Luca Neveelk was able to muster plenty of pace, joining Lamia Bale in the lead around the first turn before she was dragged down by Recruitment, with both greyhounds losing their forward positions as a result.
This interference left Luca Neveelk out in front, leading WA heavyweight Quartz Bale (box three) by about four lengths heading into the back. The Paul Stuart-trained dog looked to be the one to beat near the 600-metre boxes as he started cutting back the margin, but Luca Neveelk put in a determined effort and proved too good at the finish, scoring by just under three quarters of a length in a handy 29.97.
It was a rewarding victory for Kleeven, who bred the son of Talk’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk with his wife Rose. Luca Neveelk has been an incredibly consistent greyhound for the Kleevens, winning 27 of his 36 starts with six minor placings.
His Group 1 Australian Cup title adds to his triumphs in the Group 2 Geelong and Ballarat Cups last year, with his prize money earnings now in excess of $490,000.
2015 Group 1 Australian Cup full results
1st: Luca Neveelk (box four) – Gerald Kleeven
2nd: Quartz Bale (box three) – Paul Stuart
3rd: Hostile (box two) – Darren Beasley
4th: Sisco Rage (box one) – John Galea
5th: Emrys (box five) – Mario Briganti
6th: Samus Allen (box seven) – Jenny Hunt
7th: Recruitment (box six) – Deborah Coleman
8th: Lamia Bale (box eight) – Steve Collins
1st Section: 5.05
2nd Section: 17.66
Scratchings: Kerrigan Bale (1st Res), Fernando Bale (2nd Res)