Irma Bale Shoots For An Unique Sandown – Melbourne Cup Double

RSN Sandown Cup winner Irma Bale took her first step towards an unprecedented Cups double by winning a TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude at Sandown Park tonight.

The $2.50 favourite began brilliantly from box 8, running a stunning first split of 5.02 seconds to lead clearly through the first turn. From that point she would never be headed, extending her lead to six lengths at the line and stopped the clock in a slick 29.54 seconds.

“She's just a great chaser,” said Joe Briffa, handling the champ on behalf of trainer Graeme Bate.

“She's sprinting as well as she ever has and will definitely head towards the Cup now.”

Irma Bale has already raced in a Group final over Sandown Park's 515m distance, having run fourth in the Group 2 in December 2011, however it is over the staying distance that Irma Bale has made her name. After winning the nation's richest staying race, the RSN Sandown Cup, Irma Bale reached a further four Group race finals, running second in four of them.

Bate switched the accomplished stayer back to sprinting after she ran fourth to Bell Haven (herself a brilliant winner of race 4 at Sandown Park over 715m) in the Group 3 . She resumed her sprinting career with an impressive win at Geelong before wowing the punters with her win tonight.

The win was the 26th of Irma Bale's career, and the third in six starts over the Sandown Park 515m. She has now own more than $290,000 in prize money.

In 2010, Symmetry contested the RSN Sandown Cup (5th) before going on to contest a TAB Melbourne Cup (2nd), however no greyhound has won the RSN Sandown Cup before going on to compete in greyhound racing's biggest event.

Roy Galo made a welcome return to form, defeating Macro Meats Shootout nominee General Destini by 2.5 lengths in the fastest time of the night.

Roy Galo ($5.70) began well from the unfancied box 1 and proved too strong for General Destini ($2.20) to land his sixth win at the Lightwood Road circuit. It was Roy Galo's first win in five starts, and his winning time of 29.46 seconds was his fastest run since running 29.31 at just his third race start.

Vapourish won the night's opening Prelude for Lindsay Morshead when he defeated Soda Boy by 3.5 lengths in 29.58, Mepunga Melachi won in 29.73 for Joy McDowall, while Coal King continued Jason Thompson's recent hot streak when he took out the night's final Prelude in 29.65.

Each TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude winner has now secured its berth in the heats of the TAB Melbourne Cup on Thursday 15 November. The $500,000 TAB Melbourne Cup final will be run on Thursday 22 November.

Thinking of betting on the 2012 Melbourne Cup? There are $1,150 in Melbourne Cup free bets available through Sportsbet, Iasbet and Sportingbet.

The next feature event at Sandown Park is the Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout. Nominations for the four-dog $50,000 winner-takes-all spectacular close at midday on Monday 29 October with the field to be announced on the Catching Pen on Sky Racing 2 from 7.30pm.

The Macro Meats Shootout, along with the final TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude series, will be run on Thursday 8 November.

The full list of exempt and prequalified 2012 Melbourne Cup greyhounds are:

2012 Melbourne Cup Exemption Races & Qualified Greyhounds

Group 1 Melbourne Cup (2011) Dyna Tron Andrea Dailly
Group 1 Hobart Thousand (2011) Dyna Tron Andrea Dailly
Group 1 Brisbane Cup (2011) Glen Gallon Tony Brett
Group 1 Silver Chief Godsend Jason Thompson
Group 1 Perth Cup Mark Gatt
Group 1 National Derby Sure As Syd Swain
Group 1 National Futurity Midnight Capers Rose Pringle
Group 1 Temlee Radley Bale Graeme Bate
Group 1 Australian Cup Zara Zulu Rosie Hulme
Group 1 Golden Easter Egg Don't Knocka Him Jason Thompson
Group 1 Sapphire Crown Peggy May Jason Thompson
Group 1 Winter Carnival Cup Glen Gallon Tony Brett
Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic Garrick Bale Andrea Dailly
Group 1 Maturity Classic Barcia Bale Graeme Bate
Group 1 National Sprint Championship Fabregas David Hirst
Group 1 Spud Regis Andrea Dailly
Group 1 Topgun
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic
Group 2 Ballarat Cup (2011) Up And Away Graeme Bate
Group 1 Laurels Classic (2011) Stetson Donna Peter Dundon
Group 2 Cranbourne Cup Mystic Apple Val Awramenko
Group 2 Warragul Cup Stagger Gary Selkrig
Group 2 Launceston Cup Radley Bale Graeme Bate
Group 2 Horsham Cup Dyna Tron Andrea Dailly
Group 2 Bendigo Gold Cup Peggy May Jason Thompson
Group 2 Warrnambool Cup Dyna Bert Andrea Dailly
Group 2 Harrison-Dawson General Destini Norm Rinaldi
Group 2 Dyna Lowell Andrea Dailly
Group 2 Shepparton Cup Blackalls Boss Michelle Mallia-Magri
Group 2 WA All Stars Sprint
Group 2 Geelong Cup
Group 2 Launching Pad Five Paws Norm Rinaldi
Group 2 Desalle Bale Graeme Bate
Group 3 Shootout (ALL RUNNERS)
Melbourne Cup Prelude 1 Brenna Bale Graeme Bate
Melbourne Cup Prelude 2 Czar Robert Britton
Melbourne Cup Prelude 3 Big Black Mac Andrea Dailly
Melbourne Cup Prelude 4 Coolan Miss Robert Redenbach
Melbourne Cup Prelude 5 Paua Of Darkness
Melbourne Cup Prelude 6 General Destini Norm Rinaldi
Melbourne Cup Prelude 7 Graeme Bate
Melbourne Cup Prelude 8 Desalle Bale Graeme Bate
Melbourne Cup Prelude 9 Hurunui Hitman Stephen McKenna
Melbourne Cup Prelude 10 Odie For Now Kel Greenough
Melbourne Cup Prelude 11 Renegade Chief Kel Greenough
Melbourne Cup Prelude 12 Vapourash Lindsay Morshead
Melbourne Cup Prelude 13 Roy Galo Stan Ralph
Melbourne Cup Prelude 14 Mepunga Melachi Joy Mac Dowall
Melbourne Cup Prelude 15 Irma Bale Graeme Bate
Melbourne Cup Prelude 16 Coal King Jason Thompson

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