AGRA's Greyhound of the Month for May 2012 is the brilliant young Victoria stayer Irma Bale. Owned by Paul Wheeler and trained by Hall of Fame mentor Graeme Bate. In May the talented chaser won three of her four starts including the heat and final of the Group 1 RSN Sandown Cup at Sandown Park in Victoria.
Irma Bale gets up in the straight to win the RSN Sandown Cup (Pic Paul Munt) Irma Bale caused one of the great upsets in greyhound racing history when she upstaged cham-pion West Australian stayer Miata in the RSN Sandown Cup. In a drama filled final of the world's richest staying race, Miata ($1.20) blew the start and was last after a few strides as Irma Bale ($11.50) bounced straight to the front to lead through the first turn.
Past the post the first time, Irma Bale held a two length lead over He's My Future with Miata a further seven lengths from the lead. Down the back straight, He's My Future reduced the margin to less than a length before Vintage Blend swept around the leading pair and appeared to have the race at her mercy as they straightened for home.
However the Sydney raider found trouble in the run to the line, allowing Irma Bale to rail strongly and retake the lead and secure Hall Of Fame trainer Graeme Bate his first RSN Sandown Cup victory. From an outstanding litter containing brothers Bekim and Heston Bale, Irma Bale has steadily progressed in the ranks until particularly taking to staying in recent months. Irma Bale chalked up wins at Sandown, Horsham, Bendigo and Geelong in March-April over the middle distances, two of those wins included track records at Horsham 570, 32.28, and Bendigo 660, 37.79.
Irma Bale then contested the Group 3 West End Distance Title at Angle Park over 731 winning her heat and finishing second in the final to Cousin Callum. Back in Victoria in May she finished second at Warrnambool then won a handicap event at Horsham two days prior to her RSN Sandown Cup heat and final victory a week later. Irma Bale's next major mission is the Group 1 Macro Meats Gold Cup at Albion Park on June 7 and 14.
Irma Bale is Black bitch whelped October'09 she is by Bartrim Bale from Amelia Bale (Sonic Flight x Evonne Bale). She is raced by Paul Wheeler and trained by veteran Victorian Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Bate, her race record stands at 38 starts for 19 wins and nine placings and prizemoney earnings of $168,755.
The month of May saw nine group races decided. Irma Bale beat Group 1 winner Peggy May and Group 2 winners El Brooklyn, Dyna Bert, General Destini and Jordy Pordy for the monthly award.
AGRA congratulates the owner Paul Wheeler, trainer Graeme Bate and Irma Bale on being awarded the AGRA Greyhound of the Month for May 2012. She joins January Greyhound of the Month Oaks Road, February winner Miata, March winner Katie Merry and April winner Don't Knocka Him.