The powerful Dailly/Wheeler partnership returned to the spotlight on Saturday night when Mossimo Bale followed in the footsteps of his illustrious sire Fernando Bale in the Group 2 Casey Steel Cranbourne Cup Final (520m).
The many feature race conquests of Fernando Bale, which was also trained by Andrea Dailly, included country cups successes at Bendigo and Traralgon and Mossimo Bale’s Cranbourne triumph continued the sensational start to his champion father’s stud career.“
We haven’t had as many group winners lately compared to a couple of years ago, so this is a really nice feeling, and it’s even more special because he’s a son of Fernando Bale,” Andrea Dailly said.
The complexion of the $47,000 to-the-winner Cranbourne Cup changed dramatically with the scratching of superstar Up Hill Jill, which saw Traralgon Cup hero Poke The Bear, another son of Fernando Bale, trained by Seona Thompson, start $2.40 favourite from box eight.
Kate Gorman’s Monster Fish, runner-up to Poke The Bear in the Traralgon Cup and then again in the Cranbourne heats, was the $4.40 second elect from box two, while Mossimo Bale was an $11.10 outsider from box six after a 30.26sec heat victory at his Cranbourne debut.
Striving to go one better than at Traralgon, Monster Fish was best to begin and led Mossimo Bale rounding the first turn, while punter’s fancy Poke The Bear was awkwardly positioned, trapped wide outside reserve Jesaulenko.
Monster Fish and Mossimo Bale broke clear down the back and Mossimo Bale wore down the gallant Monster Fish in the home straight to score by 1.41 lengths in 30.12sec, at an impressive 14 from 30 strike rate, with a luckless Poke The Bear rattling home to finish third.
“He isn’t in the same league as Fernando Bale was but he’s a very good dog, and when he settled second behind Monster Fish I was just hoping he’d be strong enough to run him down, and he was,” Dailly said.
“We call him Batman at home because of the markings on his face, and he’s a little bit more playful than what Fernando Bale was. Fernando was a pure professional and it’s great that his pups are doing so well and that breeders are using him.“
“The Wheelers are still breeding litters but not as many as they used to. It’s great that we can still win the odd big race together.”
While young trainer Kate Gorman was frustratingly denied a breakthrough Group success with Monster Fish for the second time in succession, she received $14,000 consolation as a result of Monster Fish being crowned the Gippsland Carnival Champion.
It wasn’t all bad news for Poke The Bear’s trainer Seona Thompson either, as earlier in the night $1.20 favourite Azkaban took out the $10,000 to-the-winner Backmans Supplies Victoria Cup over 699m, while Big Bubbles, prepared by John Martinovic, claimed the $5000 winner’s purse in The Van Echteld over 311m.
*This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley. Images by Clint Anderson.