FANTA Bale has been installed as the short-priced favourite to win this Thursday’s Group 1 Gold Cup (710m) at Albion Park after a stunning heat victory over the track and trip last week.
The Rob Britton-trained superstar was fairly away from box eight, slotting into third spot behind Alota Amy (box one) and Big Easy Red (box seven) in the early stages.
Railing into second spot through the catching pen, Fanta Bale quickly began grinding back the margin, surging past Alota Amy coming off the back straight and sprinting clear.
In the run to the line the three-time group 1 winner gave her rivals a galloping lesson, stretching out to score by four and one quarter lengths in a blistering 41.66.
Jalapeno (box four) grabbed second and should strip fitter for the run which was his first attempt at the testing ‘700’ metre journey, whilst Big Easy Red will also start in the final after finishing third.
Fanta Bale is the $1.60 favourite with Bet365 to win the $75,000 final this week – with a victory set to take her career earnings to just below the $800,000 mark.
Heat two went to another Victorian, with Dundee Calypso (box two) upstaging Queensland superstar Cyndie’s Magic (box one).
The Geoff Scott-Smith trained bitch settled just off the pace, stalking the leader Isla’s Style (box seven) for the majority of the race before railing through in the home straight to take the lead.
Cyndie’s Magic flashed home from back in the pack but it was all too late, with Dundee Calypso prevailing to record a one and one quarter length victory in 42.02.
The third heat also went to an interstate raider, with WA gun Teddy Monelli leading from go to whoa. The black dog showed a clean set of heels from box six and was strong enough to hold off a late challenge from NSW stayer Starza Light (box two) in 42.03.
Teddy Monelli, a son of Mogambo and Jackie Bale, has now won 18 of his 37 starts for trainer Dave Hobby, his prize money earnings now in excess of $123,000.
2017 Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup – odds
1 – Dundee Calypso $3
2 – Jalapeno $21
3 – Cyndie’s Magic $7.50
4 – Obi Kenobi $67
5 – Starza Light $21
6 – Teddy Monelli $11
7 – Fanta Bale $1.60 with Bet365
8 – Big Easy Red $67
9 – Pickled Tink $101
10 – Lovelace $101
Jackson Benz steals time honours in Flying Amy Classic heats
MEANWHILE, five heats of the Listed Flying Amy Classic (520m) were also run and won on Thursday night – with Gary Pettersen’s Jackson Benz claiming time honours.
The powerhouse performer was only fairly into stride, but quickly gathered momentum, circling to take the front around the first turn. Once in the lead it was a case of times and margins, with Jackson Benz charging clear to defeat Go Lassie Go (box four) by six and a half lengths in a flying 29.72.
The only other heat to break the 30-second barrier was Opal Nera in the third qualifier. The Tony Brett-prepared speedster crossed easily from box eight, leading all the way in 29.94.
The remaining heats were run by Tooka Turn (30.04), Shoes To Fill (30.03) and Bikini Cloud (30.04).