FOUR-TIME group finalist Demon Bale (Bella Infrared x Fyna Bale Mar ’14) will be chasing his first feature race success when he lines up in Friday night’s Group 3 Mandurah Cup (490m).
The black dog is trained at Nambeelup by Enzo Crudeli and was a narrow winner of his heat last week, leading most of the way off box one to defeat a fast-finishing West On Hawkeye (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar ’15) by a nose in 27.67.
Crudeli said he was pleased with the performance which was the third fastest of the four heats on the night – time honours going to Paul Stuart’s Gold Reserve (Brett Lee x Starlight Delly Mar ’14) which clocked a near record 27.10.
“It was a good run,” Crudeli told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“There was a fair bit of rain just before and during his race – so it is hard to know how much that affected the times.
“After the rain came the times seemed to be slower – I’m not sure though if it was because of the rain or whether they were just slower dogs – but either way it wasn’t a bad time.”
Demon Bale has now won 23 races from 67 starts, having also run 28 placings throughout his career with more than $150,000 in the bank.
The former Victorian has been in sensational form since joining Crudeli’s kennel earlier this year, winning five races and placing six times in 13 starts after being purchased off leading breeder and owner Paul Wheeler.
“You can never expect to improve them as he showed a lot of ability as a youngster and always looked like he had plenty of class,” Crudeli said.
“He seemed to go through a bit of a lull in form – I find that’s the best time to get them – and when we got him over here he didn’t race for a couple of months.
“He had a problem which took a bit of time to get right, but since we got him fixed up he has been going very well.
“He has won three straight now – you can’t ask for much more.”
Demon Bale will start from box six in the final – facing a tough challenge up against the likes of Paul Stuart’s Gold Reserve and Astrozone (Cosmic Rumble x Starlight Delly Nov ’14), whilst leading trainer Chris Halse has qualified four – Desert Rampage (Barcia Bale x Desert Spark Feb ’15), West On Maisie (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar ’15), West On Hawkeye and Pepper Fire (Spiral Nikita x West On Bluebird Jul ’14).
Rounding out the field is Neil Monelli (Barcia Bale x Dyna Sandy May ’15) which is perfectly drawn in box one for Dave Hobby.
Although it will be a hard race to win, Crudeli still rates his powerhouse a rough chance of landing the $25,000 first prize.
“He is a very keen chaser and he loves to race.
“We didn’t draw well, but if he can begin and get up near the lead somewhere anything could happen.
“I’m not too worried about the draw – he does tend to jump well from the middle of the field as long as nothing hits him – but he needs to lead as there are some fast dogs there he wouldn’t be able to run down.
“If he can find the front hopefully he can pinch a break and hold on as I’m sure they’ll be some classy dogs chasing him from behind.”
The Group 3 Mandurah Cup will be run at Mandurah over 490m this Friday night.