Fernando Bale out to equal Zipping Willow; chasing Tenthill Doll

WHEN lines up in the final of the Sprint Championship he will be attempting to preserve his unbeaten record in events and seeking to extend his incredible string of successive victories over 520 metres at Wentworth Park.

Fernando Bale, currently $1.50 to win the National Sprint Championship with Bet365, has raced 10 times at the headquarters of racing in NSW and after finishing third in his first start on the Glebe course has won his next nine, with three of those being Group 1 finals (National Derby, and Classic).

If he can win the National Sprint title he will equal the effort of now-retired Wentworth Park sprint specialist Zipping Willow, who won an incredible 10 on end at the 520 metres Glebe trip.

In an article for this website earlier this year I was of the belief ‘Zipping Willow currently ‘owns’ the record for the most successive wins at the track, registering an incredible 10 consecutive victories in 2014. That broke the previous best sequence of eight on end, held by Miss Elly Mint and set in 2009.’

I added, ‘This 10 on end may well be the record for Wentworth Park throughout its history, which started in October 1939. The previous best sequence of which I’m aware is…eight in a row, over the old 530 metres grass journey, set in 1984 by Turbo Top.

The only other greyhound to have won 10 on end at Wentworth Park is the stayer Pearl Larricki, all over the 720 metres trip, in 2001.’

Well, after scouring through those race careers which are available, it looks as though the dual NSW Greyhound of the Year is in fact the greyhound which holds the record for the most successive victories at Wentworth Park since the course opened in 1939.

The sensational black speedster won no less than 11 consecutive races over the 520 metres trip at Wentworth Park, with the sequence beginning on September 2 1995 and concluding on June 29 1996. Included amongst that string is the 1995 Golden Easter Egg, a terrific come from behind victory stamping her as one of the best of all time.

For Fernando Bale, he will be attempting to record an unprecedented sixth consecutive Group 1 win, following on from his victories in the National Derby, Golden Easter Egg, Peter Mosman Memorial, and Maturity Classic. He has also won the Cup and Group 3 .

In my piece on Zipping Willow I suggested ‘It is likely to be a long time before we see the likes of a Zipping Willow again at Wentworth Park.’ No matter what happens to Fernando Bale in the National Sprint Championship final, the reality is that we have already seen a greyhound who is not only Zipping Willow’s equal, but one of the greatest sprinters to have ever raced in the country.

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