GEORGE Dailly, kennel representative for all-conquering trainer Andrea Dailly, said superstar sprinter Fernando Bale could be as good as the immortal Brett Lee after his stunning 28.98 victory in a heat of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Stepping beautifully from box three, the son of Kelsos Fusileer and Chloe Allen went straight to the early lead and was never headed, recording electrifying splits of 4.90 and 18.38, scoring by seven-and-a-half lengths ahead of Amaro Bale and La Grand Logie.
The Wheeler-owned greyhound will go into this weeks $100,000-to-the-winner final $1.20 favourite with William Hill from box one, with the dog searching for his ninth consecutive win and 17th overall at start 22.
Among his wins are victories in the Group 1 National Derby and the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park as well as slashing times at The Meadows (29.55), Wentworth Park (29.34), Geelong (25.32) and Ballarat (25.06). The white and dark brindle speedster has already won over $417,000 — a scary feat given that he only turned two in March this year.
Dailly said it is common for enthusiasts to get carried away when they see an emerging young greyhound, but he believes the hype surrounding Fernando Bale is warranted.
“People have a tendency to overreact when dogs start racing early on and I thought they were all getting a bit carried away with Fernando Bale, but after the way he went on Thursday I am tending to think that they may be right — he is a very special dog,” Dailly said.
His effort to break the elusive 29 second barrier at Sandown Park makes him just the second greyhound to do so, the other greyhound, Bekim Bale, holds the record at 28.96 and was also trained by team Dailly.
“Bekim Bale didn’t have the early toe that Fernando has got so he has got that up his sleeve and he runs brilliant second sectionals,” he said.
“They are both very, very fast dogs.”
Dailly said he has no expectations from Fernando Bale to break the track record this week, he just wants his charge to make it around safely.
“I am not really worried about the record, as long as he gets around ok and he runs a good race,” he said.
“I don’t care about the time he runs, it would be nice if he could get the record, but it doesn’t make much difference because everyone knows he is a flying machine — he has run 29.98 and there is only two dogs that have ever broken 29 there.
“Whether he runs 28.90 or 29.90 it doesn’t worry me as long as he runs a good race.”
Team Dailly will also be represented in the final by Usain I’m Nutty which scored a slick 29.30 heat win last Thursday. The Group 2 Launching Pad winner has drawn box six in the decider and is currently an $11 chance with William Hill.
“He is going well too,” Dailly said. “He just needs a clear run. There shouldn’t be any reason why he doesn’t run a good race this week — he went well last week.”
Earlier in the night the leading kennel will have Fernando Bale’s sister, Elfen Bale, and the consistent Dyna Nico engaged in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown final.
Both bitches are currently $7 with William Hill.
Dyna Nico ran second in her heat last week behind Angie Rocks and has drawn box eight in the final, while Elfen Bale, the recent Group 3 Ladies Bracelet winner, is positioned awkwardly in box five after her 29.64 heat win.
The white and dark brindle bitch has won 10 races from 21 career starts including four of her last five.
“Elfen Bale is only learning what racing about but she tries hard and she has got some early pace and she is also quite strong, she goes well,” Dailly said.
But, all eyes will undeniably be on her brother in race eight when the lids fly open at 9:35pm.
“He has pulled up as good as gold and he will be right for Thursday night,” Dailly said.
“He is going really well. He is a good chaser, he has good early toe and he is a beautiful animal. He is just an overall nice dog.”