Outstanding sprint prospect Kendale Bale proved a giant-killer in last night’s Group 2 Westside Tabaret Horsham Cup (480m). Trained by Peter Hunt of Lara, Kendale Bale was facing his litmus test but came through with flying colours – and a $28,000 first prize.
He was opposed to some slick speedsters and emerged with his unbeaten record intact. Indeed, it was a case of ‘lucky seven’ for Kendale Bale.
A son of 2003 Group 1 Australian Cup winner Most Awesome, Kendale Bale’s ‘seven deadly wins’ – all in June – started at Warragul (24.34sec), followed by Bendigo (24.12sec), Geelong (26.04sec), Bendigo (24.06sec) and Geelong (19.41sec) prior to the Horsham Cup series.
In fact, Kendale Bale’s win is even more unlikely when you consider the “preparation” he has had leading in to the series. The black and white dog was on his race debut as recently as 3rd June 2008 and started an unwanted 10/1 chance in a low maiden at Warragul, winning in 24.34.
From that win, Kendale Bale’s trainer, Peter Hunt; set the black and white dog had the arduous assignment of contesting two different 5th grade heat and finals series at Bendigo and Geelong simultaneously!
Kendale Bale overcame that challenge by winning every heat and final in what is surely to go down as one of the most peculiar preparations prior to a Group 2 win in history.
That task saw the dog run four times in nine days prior to his brilliant box 1 27.07 Horsham Cup heat win just four days after the last 5th grade final win, and one thing became obvious – the dog must be very good to be able to continue running such quick times without respite.
And it was obvious this was no ‘boy on a man’s assignment’ after he won a heat four nights earlier in 27.07sec – around two and a half lengths slower than fastest qualifier El Galo (26.93sec), who was runner-up in this year’s Group 1 Australian Cup and a winner of three country cups.
Even second-fastest qualifier Paddy’s Flame (26.97sec) was only around two lengths quicker than Kendale Bale in the heats. Already this year, Paddy’s Flame has won the Group 1 Maturity Classic and Group 2 Wangaratta Cup.
In the final, Kendale Bale ($7.80) – who doesn’t turn two until September – defeated Birthday Boy ($14.80) by one length, with Trew Millions ($9.40) three-quarters of a length away third in 27.12sec.
Then followed: Liam’s Way ($19.80), El Galo ($2.60F), Paddy’s Flame ($3.60), El Masri Bale ($6.70), also trained by Hunt, and North Sea ($41.20). (Another Lara trainer, Tina Womann, prepares Trew Millions and North Sea.)
Birthday Boy was clearly the run of the race, being held up at many vital stages after beginning better than expected and being forced to race three wide for much of the race before holding on for second. That followed a hard finishing heat run which saw him actually run quicker than Kendale Bale by finishing second to El Galo, beaten 3/4 length running 26.99.
This Steve Elsum trained youngster by Where’s Pedro out of Juma Country, the dam of Cool Temptation; is a dog on the way up and it will pay to follow his career closely.
Hunt said he was uncertain whether Kendale Bale, at this point in his career, would measure up to cup standard, particularly against such seasoned sprinters.
“I was concerned about his lack of experience but he can really run time and has early pace… You’re always a chance when out in front,” he said.
Kendale Bale is owned by breeding icon Paul Wheeler of Boorowa in New South Wales.
Wheeler has owned another three Horsham Cup winners – Lansley Bale (1998), Kantarn Bale (2000) and Timjim Bale (2002) – all trained by Graeme Bate.
A legendary 12-time Victorian Trainer of the Year, Bate – the stepfather of Hunt – has won seven Horsham Cups. The others being Satan’s Shroud (1982), Virgo Rose (1983), Propellant (1984) and Hay Dinney (1988).
Last year’s Australian Trainer of the Year, Jason Thompson of Pearcedale, was chasing his fourth Horsham Cup and his third in succession.
Thompson won with Monsters Inc (2003), See You Later (2006) and Winsome History (2007), but had to settle for fifth with El Galo.