While champion sprinter Fernando Bale dominates the betting, Lamia Bale, $13 with William Hill, is one of only two greyhounds that have defeated the mighty white and dark brindle powerhouse within his last 25 starts.
That defeat, back in February at The Meadows, was Flying Fernando’s last before embarking on a record-equalling 16 straight winning streak which included victories in four Group races, three at the highest level.
That winning run came to an end last month when he was defeated by Kelly Bravo’s Secret Spell in a semi-final of the Maturity Classic – but he bounced back in tremendous fashion the following week, winning the Group 1 feature, the fifth of his career, in a stunning 29.50.
Just five days later, the son of Kelsos Fusileer and Chloe Allen was almost upstaged by another Bravo runner, with Kayda Shae railing underneath the sport’s superstar in a heat of the Victorian Sprint Championship.
Like a true champion, Fernando Bale refused to taste defeat, slipping into another gear and racing around Kayda Shae to score in 29.34 on a rain-affected track.
Fernando Bale, who became a father for the first time on Monday, will exit box seven this week, with Kayda Shae also to contest the final, drawing favourably in box one. Lamia Bale has drawn awkwardly in box five, but her trainer Steve Collins says that it is something his brindle speedster is used to.
“Boxes don’t seem to come her way, but she has done what she has throughout her career despite drawing bad boxes so we have just got to hope that she can do it again – but it is going to be a hard task,” Collins said.
Lamia Bale, which had been mixing her form in recent starts, was back to her best last week – recording 29.74 over the 515-metre trip.
“She did things she normally doesn’t do last Thursday – she railed underneath a couple of dogs so maybe she is getting a bit more confidence,” Collins added.
“29.74 was good for her, especially the way that she did it, so I was quite happy with that effort.”
Collins puts the rejuvenated run down to trying some different training techniques to try and build up his bitch’s confidence heading into the heats.
“Racing up against Group class dogs and being trapped out in box eight too many times wasn’t helping her, so we took her to the Meadows for a bitches only race and that gave her a bit of confidence.
“After that we took her back to Sandown and she still wasn’t really mixing it with the boys so we took her to Shepparton to try and get her to go past a few dogs and get a bit of confidence that way.”
Owner by Paul Wheeler, Lamia Bale is one of the most underrated greyhounds in training. The daughter of High Earner and Maple Bale has won four Group races including the Group 1 Sapphire Crown Classic at Sandown Park with just under $350,000 in career earnings.
That win gave Collins the first Group 1 victory of his training career, an experience he says will say with him forever.
“It was a tremendous feeling and she will always have a special spot in our heart because of that win and we have a photo of her on the wall – we will never forget her.
“It would be nice to win another Group race with her before she retires, but just to make the final and be representing Victoria would be tremendous.”
The winner of the Victorian Sprint Championship will progress through to the Group 1 National Sprint Championship to be run at Wentworth Park on Saturday August 22, 2015.
With Fernando Bale being Australia’s highest ranked sprinter, he is guaranteed a spot in the final win, lose or draw. If Fernando wins, as many people expect him to, Lamia Bale will gain a start as the country’s second highest rated sprinter.
The Victorian Sprint Championship is race six at Sandown Park and will jump at 8:52pm.
Lets check out the form of each runner, with expert comments from Australian Racing Greyhound‘s tipster, Brad Bugeja.
Box One – Kayda Shae
Red Fawn Dog – 34.2kg – June 2013
Kilty Lad x Cosmic Aphrodite
Prize money: $67,580
Trainer: Kelly Bravo
Career: 13: 8-2-0
T/D: 5: 2-2-0
T/D Best: 29.27
“Kayda Shae is an up and coming star and he really took it up to Fernando Bale here last week and I think with a clean getaway tonight he can actually turn the tables on the champ. Last week he went a sizzling 5.01 to the first marker, if he can reproduce that he should be able to hold the favourite out and last week he actually made ground on Fernando Bale mid race, so a repeat performance should see him be in front mid race and he will take a power of beating.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $4.25 with Bet365
Box Two – Ronray Spirit
Black Dog – 33.6kg – December 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Ronray Disco
Prize money: $159,745
Trainer: Terry Reid
Career: 38: 21-3-5
T/D: 5: 3-1-1
T/D Best: 29.56
“Ronray Spirit is a reliable beginner and he has been racing well here in recent weeks. Last week he showed a tremendous turn of foot after missing the kick and his winning time of 29.60 is a lot better than it looks. If he found the lead again tonight he could run a big race, however I am a little concerned that he won’t be able to cross the red and he will cop some heat from Fernando Bale as they head into the first corner.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $15 with Sportsbet
Box Three – Margins
Black Dog – 36.0kg – February 2013
Bekim Bale x Gogo Sutro
Prize money: $106,145
Trainer: Brooke Ennis
Career: 31: 11-7-3
T/D: 7: 4-0-0
T/D Best: 29.30
“Margins is the reigning Horsham Cup champ and he is one of the most honest and consistent chasers in training. He will be giving them a bit of a head start tonight but I actually think he is quite well placed and a top three finish is on the cards. All the speed is drawn in one, two and seven, so if the inside two do the job and hold them out, he should get a saloon passage through as they negotiate the first corner.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $17 with Crownbet
Box Four – Mepunga Armagh
Black and White Dog – 33.8kg – October 2011
Premier Fantasy x Mepunga Harmony
Prize money: $168,350
Trainer: Jeff Britton
Career: 70: 25-14-8
T/D: 29: 9-6-2
T/D Best: 29.34
“Track specialist and he was a tad unlucky when placed in his heat last week, however from the middle pin he is going to face an uphill battle because there appears to be too much speed drawn around him.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $34 with Bet365
Box Five – Lamia Bale
Brindle Bitch – 27.6kg – July 2012
High Earner x Maple Bale
Prize money: $346,905
Trainer: Steve Collins
Career: 64: 20-14-11
T/D: 32: 11-6-5
T/D Best: 29.23
“Wonderful chaser who has a habit of pinging the lids in races like these. Last week she powered to the line when scoring in 29.74 and with a clear passage tonight she can obviously win again. The big concern is obviously the draw and I am worried that she will get squeezed out in the early stages. Can win but will need to ping and avoid trouble in the first 50m.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $13 with William Hill
Box Six – Above All
Black Dog – 32.4kg – July 2012
Magic Sprite x Kara Janx
Prize money: $221,605
Trainer: Robert Britton
Career: 19: 11-4-0
T/D: 9: 4-3-0
T/D Best: 29.25
“Freakish talent when on song and after two runs from a spell he should be fully primed now and he could cause an upset. He recorded a breathtaking 29.25 victory when resuming from a spell and he followed that effort up with a solid heat placing last week after finding bother early. He is actually well placed in the wider draw tonight, however there is a heap of speed in seven and he can’t afford to hesitate at box rise. If he can step cleanly he should be able to show enough speed to settle in the top three and he will be right there at the end.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $12 with Bet365
Box Seven – Fernando Bale
White and Dark Brindle Dog – 29.7kg – March 2013
Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen
Prize money: $796,360
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
Career: 32: 26-2-1
T/D: 7: 6-0-0
T/D Best: 28.98
“Phenomenal chaser and he just continues to impress. Last week he got a scare from the up and coming Kayda Shae but he still hit the line well enough to score in comfortable style. If he pings away again tonight he will simply win, however from the wider draw I do think he is a bit of a risk. There is quite a bit of speed drawn in one and two tonight, so if he slightly hesitates at box rise he is likely to be posted three wide at the first corner. We saw last week that if Kayda Shae holds him out early, Kayda Shae has the speed and strength to beat him. Freak who will be heading to the Grand Final either way.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $1.45 with Sportsbet
Box Eight – Weston East
Black Dog – 32.2kg – February 2013
Oaks Road x Hot Spur
Prize money: $103,965
Trainer: Angela Langton
Career: 33: 12-7-3
T/D: 18: 7-5-2
T/D Best: 29.30
“Highly talented chaser who was quite lucky here last week. After missing the kick he got a lucky run through at the first corner and he found himself in front as they headed for the back straight. I’m guessing that he will miss away again tonight and if that happens he is likely to be posted wide for most of the journey, so he is unlikely to feature in this event.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $34 with Bet365
1st Reserve – Lektra Uptopia
Brindle Dog – 30.3kg – January 2013
Collision x Lektra Angel
Prize money: $51,385
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
Career: 39: 10-7-6
T/D: 11: 2-2-1
T/D Best: 29.50
“Can show speed in his races and could be a nuisance in the early stages if he gained a start, however he isn’t overly strong and he will find the going tough in this company.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $126 with Crownbet
2nd Reserve – Emrys
Black Dog – 31.5kg – January 2013
Magic Sprite x Prancing Uno
Prize money: $72,375
Trainer: Mario Briganti
Career: 36: 12-8-1
T/D: 9: 3-2-0
T/D Best: 29.29
“Powerful chaser who has a great record here, unlikely to gain a start but if he did he would have genuine place claims. He has great track sense and he can run time coming from off the speed.”
Odds to win the VIC Sprint Championship: $34 with Sportsbet
Top Four: 1 – 3 – 7 – 6
Win bet on Kayda Shae
Quinella: 1 to rove with 3,6,7 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,6,7/3/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,6,7/Field/3 ($18 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,6,7/1,3,6,7 ($9 for 100%)