Saturday, February 24, 2018
There was a time when Ernest Bale was mixing it with some of the best greyhounds in the land – Dyna Double One, Bruce Tycoon, Moreira, Dundee Osprey and Dalgetty, to name but a few.
In fact, by the time leading Adelaide owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman purchased the son of Turanza Bale x Cara Bale close to two years ago, the 18-race winner had collected more than $100,000 in prizemoney.
But six months after the sale, Ernest Bale was still sitting on the sidelines after sustaining a serious injury, trainer Barry Shepheard recalling he had suggested to the owners at the time that perhaps the black dog might benefit from a holiday in the country.
“He arrived here at Glencoe in early 2017 but it took a long time to get him right, what with trying to keep him fit and sound at the same time. Actually, it wasn’t until June that he had his first race start at Tara Raceway,” Shepheard said.
“By November, while he was still racing alright, he hadn’t won a race and the owners were looking to place him as a pet.
“As it turned out, that particular weekend Ernest Bale had run third so I said to Tim and Matt if they didn’t want to continue with him then I was prepared to carry on – a suggestion they were happy to go along with.”
By the time Ernest Bale, who will turn five in August, lined up from box six in last Friday’s The Border Watch Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting he had raced at the track on 17 occasions for seven minor placings.
A $14 chance, Ernest Bale was slowly away but gained a nice rails run through the first turn and from then on took the short way home, eventually running out a four length winner over early leader Derivation – his first win since March 31, 2016 at Sandown Park.
While Shepheard has certainly had bigger wins than this at Tara Raceway, he certainly found it hard to conceal his delight at Ernest Bale’s best of day 30.16 seconds win.
“I reckon that’s one of the most satisfying wins I’ve ever had,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rupanyup trainer Kath Brooks, who landed a treble at the November 17 time-graded meeting, went one better on Friday with a career-best four winners after Iroquois Sharman, Call Me Crazy, Stella Story and Annie Bell were successful.
And Amanda Darmanin’s Ruby’s Cheekstar brought up her second win for the month when the $18 chance defeated fellow outsider Mr Perfect by a head in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) in 23.61 seconds.
The win completed a good week for the Cape Hawke x Jamaican Ruby litter after Robert Walsh’s Ima Caravan at last Sunday’s meeting had scored an impressive 4½ length win in the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (600 m) over litter sister Ruby’s Willow in a quick 35.15 seconds.
They were timely wins for Jamaican Ruby, a 600 metre winner at The Meadows, who earlier this month whelped three dogs and five bitches to Banjo Boy.