Lamia Bale was ultra impressive at her first start over the middle distance last Thursday when claiming her heat of the Group Three Sir John Dillon Memorial in emphatic fashion.
Starting from box two, the Steve Collins trained bitch went straight to the front and was never headed, defeating Skyfire by six lengths in a hot 34.11.
Collins said that he didn’t have any doubt that Lamia Bale would run the extra trip, although the sizzling time posted was a surprise.
“I always thought she would make a middle distance dog because her mum was a good middle distance performer. I thought the 600s with her pace might be good”, Collins said.
“I didn’t really have any worries about her running the extra distance because she has been finishing off her races quite well (over 500), I thought she would get the last hundred.
“The time was a bit better than I thought she could run. I thought she would be about a 34.30 bitch so she has surprised me by going a couple of lengths quicker.”
Lamia Bale, a daughter of High Earner and Maple Bale, will start from an identical draw in this week’s final which Collins said should suit her. The Victorian mentor rates the inside runner, dual Group winner Awesome Project, as the dog to beat.
“She wants the middle of the track but I still think the draw will suit her because she can angle out on the corner. I think her and the one (Awesome Project) will be the frontrunners and I think she will probably make the race for him.
“She runs about three wide for most of the trip, so he has probably got the right draw on the inside of her. She will probably shepherd him away from the other dogs going into the corner, but it just depends on how he comes out and how she comes out.”
Thursday’s race will continue Lamia Bale’s busy preparation. After winning her heat of the Sir John Dillon last Thursday, the 27.5 kilogram chaser returned to Sandown over 515 metres on Sunday to contest a heat of the Group Two Laurels Classic.
Beginning well from box one, the brindle bitch was never behind another runner for the second time in a row, claiming her spot in the semi final round by 12 lengths in 29.37.
After competing in the Sir John Dillon this Thursday, Lamia Bale will return for her Laurels semi on Sunday where she will need to finish in the top two to qualify for Sunday week’s final.
Collins said it wasn’t his original intention to run in both series’, however he says his versatile performer is feeling as good as ever.
“I didn’t realise the Laurels was coming up on a Sunday”, Collins admitted.
“You only get one chance at the big races in the age group, so if I had of known the Laurels was on Sunday then she wouldn’t have been in on Thursday. It was an oversight by me, not realising it was on Sunday.”
“She has backed up beautifully and has worked the place down, I didn’t think she would have any problems. She is jumping out of her skin.
“She worked really good this morning (Tuesday) up the runs. We don’t normally do a lot with them when they are racing close together but if you don’t with her she doesn’t shut up. She loves her work.”
“She is as fit as I can get her and is probably feeling the best she has in a long time too.”
Lamia Bale is currently the star of Collins’ kennel after his multiple Group winning stayer, Dyna Willow, was recently retired.
Dyna Willow has since returned to owner/breeder Paul Wheeler’s property where she has been mated with Meticulous.
The Group Three Sir John Dillon Memorial is race six at Sandown this Thursday night and will jump at 8:50pm (VIC time).