Classy Victorian sprinter Keeko Bale ($5.60) made no mistakes in her comprehensive victory leading all the way to win her first Group feature final the Group 2 Chris Humphrey Office National Traralgon Cup last Friday night.
Significantly it was also master trainer Graeme Bate’s first Traralgon Cup after winning almost ever group race on the national calendar. It was a great race for the veteran trainer he went one, two in the rich event with another smart youngster, Velocette ($3.40).
It was a superb effort by a very classy sprinter, the Hallucinate chaser came into the final in hot form with a brilliant heat win last week in the fastest time of the night.
Leading all the way she scored a hollow victory by eight lengths in 29.55 only a length and a bit outside the 513 metre record of 29.47.
A noted reliable beginner Keeko Bale jumped to the front in the final and led through the first mark in 5.42, she looked to be travelling like a winner a long way out, with a second split of 16.61 she was certainly on record pace Velocette got the better of the favourite Major Tsunami ($2.50) coming around the home turn but his kennel mate was off and gone racing away up the straight to win by six and three quarter lengths.
The semaphore board registered a new track record time of 29.46 lowering the previous standard by 1/100th of a second set by Lochinui in April this year.
“She is a very smart bitch with a lot of early pace a lot has been said about it being my first Traralgon Cup win but I never ever targeted the race before I use to stay on my half of the city but decided to have a go at it this year”. Bate said after the win.
“It turned out a great result coming home with the quinella. I’ll set her for the Sapphire Crown at Sandown and then onto the Melbourne Cup which is my favourite race.”
In a master stroke the champion trainer asked Gippsland identity Carolyn Jones if she would handle Keeko Bale in the final.
“She is very much a females dog my wife Bev does everything with her at here at home. So I called Carolyn who I know absolutely adores greyhounds she was delighted to handle her telling me Keeko is her favourite dog, it couldn’t have worked out better.” Bate said.
The Cup was Keeko Bale’s first group success after she has made the final of this year’s Group 1 Maturity Classic (3rd to Paddy’s Flame) and Group 1 Perth Cup (6th to Size Can Matter), Keeko Bale is bred for black type.
She is by 2004 Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Hallucinate, and out of 2002 Group 1 Laurels Classic winner Katella Bale, who was also prepared by Bate.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th Alpine Way ($10.80), 5th Uno Capo ($32.70), 6th Boss Hat Trick ($22.90) 7th Violet Crumble ($9.20) and Jeddy Boy ($33.30).
Keeko Bale is raced by Paul Wheeler and trained by Graeme Bate at Lara she is a Black Bitch whelped February 2006 by Hallucinate from Katella Bale (Awesome Assassin x Kobie Bale).
Keeko Bale has won 14 of her 45 starts and has been placed on 17 occasions and with the $26,000 first prize for the Traralgon Cup it took her current stake earnings to $89,267.
The Traralgon Cup was first known as the Latrobe Valley Cup from 1974 until 1980 when it changed its name, listed below is the Honour Roll of past winners.
Traralgon Cup Honour Roll
- 1974 Lady Anthia
- 1975 Jaymar’s Pride
- 1976 Dunmain Scholar
- 1977 Bolta’s Gift
- 1978 Elsie Belinda
- 1979 Newmore’s Heart
- 1980 Weona Swinger
- 1981 Select Band
- 1982 Harry Shamrock
- 1983 Drop Of Wine
- 1984 Forever Alert
- 1985 Rumpus Pappa
- 1986 Lightning Boy
- 1987 Star Affair
- 1988 Ray Bon Miss
- 1989 Devastate
- 1990 Witchery
- 1991 Malawi’s Prince
- 1992 Tough As Tears & Worth Backing (Dead Heat)
- 1993 Lash’s Choice
- 1994 Light Of Fire
- 1995 Wylie Boy
- 1996 Flash Monarch
- 1997 Shannen’s Storm
- 1998 Power Thriller
- 1999 Four Amigos
- 2000 Dutchy’s Angel
- 2001 Floodfawn
- 2002 Elgrando
- 2003 Our Barney
- 2004 Amaroo Gift
- 2005 Zaar
- 2006 Cromlah Bale
- 2007 Meticulous
- 2008 Keeko Bale (Track Record)