ON Topgun night at The Meadows, star South Australian stayer Bogie Bekim put Fanta Bale’s historic million dollar celebrations on hold – albeit only for several weeks – with an upset come-from-behind victory in the Group 2 Topgun Stayers invitational.
That was Fanta Bale’s only defeat in her last ten starts.
This Saturday at Wentworth Park, Bogie Bekim and successful young trainer Ben Rawlings will be striving to upstage the Victorian champion once again when they renew acquaintances in the Group 3 Summer Cup.
Bogie Bekim, an April ’14 son of Bekim Bale and Bogie Skye, started $3.20 favourite from box two in the second of two Summer Cup heats held last Saturday and continued his excellent recent form, leading all-the-way in 42.67, defeating the fast-finishing local Ebby Ripper by 2.75 lengths on a rain-affected surface.
It was Bogie Bekim’s sixth win from his last seven starts and second from three appearances at Wentworth Park, with the defeat being a second in the Group 1 Association Cup.
“He’s back to his best,” Ben Rawlings said.
“He went off a little bit around Nationals time, when he had an injury, and then he had a fall at Gawler, but since then he’s been going great. You won’t see many dogs give Fanta Bale five lengths and run her down!
“He did falter in the heats of the Bold Trease, but he’s missed the start at Sandown before, so maybe he just doesn’t like the track.
“I was planning to bring him to Sydney for the Summer Distance Plate in January. When he got run out of the Bold Trease, he killed them in a race at home and the vibe was that there wasn’t going to be a race for him the following week, so I said to Les (Bein, owner/breeder) we might as well have a crack at the $25,000!”
Fanta Bale, which became Australian greyhound racing’s third millionaire when winning the Group 1 Bold Trease last month, started $1.45 favourite in the opening Summer Cup heat and she also led throughout, defeating Zipping Lady by two lengths in 43.13.
Trained by Robert Britton, Fanta Bale, an August ’14 daughter of David Bale and Ucme Typhoon, has won 36 of her 53 starts and she’s undefeated in four 720m assignments at Wentworth Park, highlighted by the Group 3 Sydney Cup in October.
Despite Bogie Bekim’s significant qualifying advantage, Fanta Bale is the $2 favourite in Ladbrokes’ Summer Cup market after drawing box eight, with Bogie Bekim the $2.90 second elect from box six.
“I’m quietly confident. Fanta Bale deserves to be favourite – she’s a superstar – but he’s definitely a live chance,” Rawlings said.
“He’s gone half a second faster than Fanta Bale went in her heat, so it’s not a bad place to be! The most pleasing thing for us was that all his splits were quicker than Fanta Bale.
“He does seem to have an affinity with Wentworth Park and jumps well there, so hopefully that’ll continue. If he can lead Fanta Bale I’ll be very happy and if he’s sitting behind her I’ll be happy with that too. But my bloke isn’t always quick out – he can miss it – and Fanta Bale is foolproof.
“We’ve always liked him drawn middle to wide, which probably sounds a bit silly after he went so well off the two in his heat. But he generally likes some space on his outside, so six isn’t a disastrous draw. I’d prefer it to the red.
“Bogie Bekim’s had a ripper year. He’s won a Group 1 and a Group 2, which was as good as a Group 1, so to win a Group 3 would be a great way to finish.”
Rawlings is also bringing recent Western Australian acquisition Pyredos Monelli to Wentworth Park on Saturday night to test the waters with an eye on the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder in January.
Pyredos Monelli, a June ’15 son of Bekim Bale and Luba Monelli, is undefeated in four appearances in SA, most recently clocking a best of night 29.84 at Angle Park last Thursday to improve his impressive career record to 15 from 37.
“I’m probably throwing Pyredos Monelli in the deep end, but I’ve got an opinion of him and he’s improved with every run since I’ve had him,” Rawlings said.
“I’d like to bring him back to Sydney for the Paws Of Thunder, but we’ll see how he goes on Saturday. I’ve been looking for a travelling partner for Bogie Bekim and to find a sprinter to bring with him would be ideal.”