At Sandown tonight both the two highest ranked greyhounds secured their passports to Perth for the Group 1 $50,000 to the winner National Distance Final.
With the shock scratching of Mantra Lad from the final despite the fact he only had to start to be assured of a final berth in Perth, Vintage Octane then became the highest ranked greyhound who didn’t have to win tonight head to Perth.
Despite that fact, Vintage Octane who was incredibly dissappointing last week, somehow found more than six lenghts in the run and an incredible four lengths just in the last section to win the Victorian National Distance Championship and hold off Jarvis Bale who bloused past him last week in the heats.
Last week in the heats Vintage Octane was able to lead as he did tonight and headed to the second and third sectionals in 15.89 and 30.78, but wilted in the run similar to how he stopped at Cannington earlier this year, and only managed a 11.73 run home. That slow final section allowed Jarvis Bale to score his debut staying win in 42.35.
Tonight in the Victorian National Distance Championship Final Vintage Octane was again able to set up a good lead going to the second and third sectionals in 15.95 and 30.66, but miraculously found almost 3 tenths of a second in the run home, to finish the race off with an 11.44 last section.
Vintage Octane was coming off just the one middle distance race, albeit that was a track record run; but to find six lengths in one week is amazing. On the other hand Jarvis Bale showed only natural improvement on his heat time of 42.35 to run 42.31 tonight and that proved to be the difference.
Amity Bale who was sent out the $1.80 favourite threw all her chances away yet again by refusing to leave the rail to go around a greyhound and getting shuffled back and held up in the run.
With the $10,000 first prizemoney Vintage Octane took his career tally to $150,400 with a race record of 43 starts for 22 wins and 13 placings. A fawn dog whelped in October 2006 by Pure Octane~My Girl Georgina, owned by the Racing Is Fun Syndicate and trained by Darren McDonald; Vintage Octane has made several group finals including the Group 2 Cranbourne Cup, Group 3 Stayers Challenge, Group 1 Galaxy and Group 1 Sandown Cup. His two group racing successes have been the Group 2 Sale Cup and the Group 2 Zoom Top at The Meadows.
Vintage Octane will be well placed in the Group 1 National Distance Championship at Cannington having started there three times for a win and two placings, although his form over there last time was far from consistent.
Meanwhile Jarvis Bale, a greyhound who had never won a race over a distance further than 525 metres prior to his heat win over Vintage Octane in 42.35, will secure the eighth berth to the National Distance Championship in Perth as the highest AGRA ranked greyhound who couldn’t win their state final.
Despite Jarvis Bale having accrued all his AGRA rankings point over sprint distances he does seem to have stepped up to the staying mark in his last two runs and tonight’s effort to finish second confirmed he will be competitive in the Group 1 final on September 5th.
Jarvis Bale is a black dog whelped November 2006 by Sonic Flight~Rosemary Bale, owned by Paul Wheeler and trained by Graeme Bate. He has started 47 times for 9 wins and 28 placings, although his staying record reads just the 4 starts for 1 win and 2 placings.
Jarvis Bale is no stranger to group racing though finshing third behind Fedex in the 2009 Group 1 Silver Chief, second behind Major Mission in the Group 2 Warragul Cup, seventh in the Group 2 Horsham Cup, third in the Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation, and last behind Amity Bale in the Group 2 AWM Distance Championship at The Meadows.
And Jarvis Bale too is another greyhound that has Cannington track experience having contested the 2009 Perth Cup series and finishing second behind Miss Slick in his Group 1 Perth Cup heat getting beaten by 1.25 lengths in 30.44 and then finishing third behind Velocette’s track record run in the Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation beaten by 6.25 lengths in 29.92.