FERNANDO Bale completed his 11th successive victory in the heats of the Peter Mosman Memorial at Wentworth Park on Saturday night. Obviously, he is now a firm favourite to annex his semi-final and improve his already remarkable record of 19 wins from just 25 race starts.
Fernando Bale became the 16th greyhound since 2000 to rack up a sequence of 11 consecutive wins.* Of those 16, only eight have gone on to extend their sequence to 12 or more. So, arguably, Fernando Bale’s chances of keeping on winning have dropped by about 50 percent.
Greyhounds which have won 11 in a row since 2000 and then been defeated include Where’s Pedro, who won his first 11 races in 2004 before being beaten in a heat of the Maturity Classic.
In 2005, Gozo Farmer, a much-travelled sprinter who won at Wentworth Park, Dapto, Mackay and almost everywhere in-between was beaten going for win number 12 at Darwin.
In 2010, Bralyn County began his race career by reeling off 11 successive wins at Gosford, Casino and five straight at Wentworth Park before running second at his next start in a Free For All at headquarters.
Six greyhounds have attempted to notch 12 on end in a major final, the first being Zaability who won his 11th in the heats of the Tweed Heads Galaxy in June 2001. Unfortunately, he was beaten almost seven lengths into second place from box seven in the final two days later by Springtime Magic.
In 2002 the Queenslander Ace Boy won his first 11 race starts and defeated NSW star Cyrus The Virus to make the final of the Group 2 Gold Coast Cup over 457-metres at Parklands. He was well drawn in box eight for the final but was beaten a length and a half into second place by the Jodie Lord-trained Mr Faithful.
Whisky Assassin won his 11th successive race in the heats of the 2004 Melbourne Cup, but could finish only sixth in the final (from box four) behind the brilliant Hallucinate.
Barcia Bale had won all 11 of his race starts when he made the final of the NSW National Sprint Championship, held in 2012 over 472-metres at Bulli. From box five he finished at the tail of the field behind Exclusive One after copping a decent check going into the first turn. He won his next two starts and was then retired.
The only stayer on the 11-in-a-row list is Miata, who had strung together this sequence between 2012 and 2013 but was beaten (from box four) into third place in the Group 1 Zoom Top by Destini Fireball.
Miata had earlier put together another sequence, this time of 15 in a row, and is one of only three Australian greyhounds to have put together two winning sequences of 10 or more races. The other two are True Vintage (sequences of 15 and 13 in 1988 and 1987) and Wild Country (sequences of 13 and 12 in 1987 and 1988).
On the positive side, in 1996 Tasmanian star sprinter Bomber’s A Flyer made it 11 on end when taking out a semi-final of the Illingworth Classic at Launceston, and went on to win the final by three lengths.
In 2001, Brett Lee won his 11th race on end in annexing the Golden Easter Egg semi-final, and a week later cruised home for win number 12 when leading all the way from box eight to score by almost five lengths.
Surf Lorian’s 11th successive win had come in the final of the 2004 Peter Mosman Memorial just five days before making it 12 in a row when winning a heat of the Queensland Derby.
*Note: This is to the best of my knowledge. There may well others who have won 11 straight over the years before tasting defeat, but I imagine these will have raced at country tracks and have not made into my admittedly incomplete database. One example would be the Mandurah champion Car Park Keith, who won 64 races in Western Australia, but good luck trying to find his complete record anywhere…and he finished racing only in about 1998. Hardly ancient history.