Heston Bale stamped himself as one of Australia’s best chasers after smashing The Meadows 525-metre track record by almost three lengths, running 29.45 in heat seven of the Group 1 AJS Silver Chief on Saturday night.
The son of Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale began brilliantly from box three, and after momentarily being headed by Gordon Bale, he stormed to the front heading into the back straight and the race was as good as over. The Andrea Dailly-trained chaser stopped the second sectional timer at 17.74, eventually strolling to a 12 and three quarter-length win, running home in an extraordinary 11.71. His new time standard broke a record (held previously by Turanza Bale) that has stood for over two years.
Heston Bale – a brother to the recently injured Bekim Bale – will go into next week’s semi-finals as the greyhound to beat in the series, with the Group 1 finale on New Year’s Day worth $75,000 to the winner.
Queenslander Glen Gallon continued his great recent form (winner of the Group 1 Brisbane Cup on December 1) with an all-the-way 29.69 debut run at The Meadows, defeating Sleep Walk by 11 and three quarter lengths for trainer Tony Brett.
The brilliant Cape Hawke was another to impress on the night after a slashing 29.73 heat win. The son of Where’s Pedro and Viva Odessa began on terms with his rivals before unleashing an amazing burst of speed, stopping the second sectional timer at 17.62 before finishing 10 and a quarter lengths ahead of Drummond Bale. Trained by James Ennis, Cape Hawke improved his record to 12 wins from 20 starts.
The Angela Langton-Jeff Britton kennel enjoyed an early double when Whispering Wind overcame some late interference to score in 30.23, after fast splits of 5.02 and 17.79. He joined Mepunga Geordie in the winners’ circle after the son of Premier Fantasy and Mepunga Diamond won the first heat of the night in 30.39.
Other heat winners on the evening included Hutmaker (29.96), Soda Boy (30.10), Exclusivity (30.10), Wedding Singer (30.02), Cronos Bale (30.16) and Vee Ate Mate (30.18).
The winners, runners up and 10 fastest thirds from Saturday’s heats now progress to the semi-finals next Saturday night before the grand final on New Year’s Day – an evening full of giveaways for patrons on what promises to be a brilliant night of greyhound racing.