$100 Million Milestone For Fernando Bale

WHEN Fernando Bale retired with eight Group 1 wins and a world-record $1.3m in stakes his legacy was already well and truly secured.

Adam Dobbin

29 June 2022

WHEN champion Fernando Bale retired in late 2015 with eight Group 1 victories and a world-record $1.3m in prize money it was hard to envisage that his influence on the sport could scale even greater heights.

But in an illustration that greatness knows no bounds, Fernando Bale’s post racing deeds as a sire have reached a remarkable milestone, his offspring amassing a staggering $100m in stakes, solidifying his standing as the greatest greyhound in the sport’s history.

“It’s hard to get your head around what he’s achieved both on and off the track, it’s just remarkable,” studmaster Paul Westerveld said.

“Early doors he wasn’t hugely popular at stud and there were questions as to whether his greatness on the track would transition to the breeding barn.

“That makes what he’s been able to achieve even more special.

Fernando Bale with Chloe 12 and Zach 10. Picture: Tony Gough

“There will never be another dog like him. We are very fortunate to have him here as part of the family.”

Bred and raced by the late-great Paul Wheeler, who tragically passed away last October, Fernando Bale, trained by the all-conquering Dailly kennel at Anakie, was close to invincible on the racetrack.

The son of American stud dog Kelsos Fusileer started on 44 occasions for 35 wins with his performances almost exclusively at Group race level.

His eight Group 1 triumphs were annexed in the biggest races across three states – New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – only adding to his immortal-like status.

During his racing days, crowds would flock to watch Fernando Bale go about his business, much the same as the influence the mighty Winx had on thoroughbred racing throughout her decorated career.

The night he roared away for victory in the 2015 Group 1 Adelaide Cup at Angle Park there was standing room only to watch Fernando Bale become the sport’s first ever million-dollar winning greyhound.

Fernando Bale has become the first sire to reach $100m in prize money Picture: Tony Gough

“That was a night like no other,” Westerveld recalled.

“When he went to the front I’ve never heard a roar like it at a greyhound meeting.

“The crowd was that big Paul Wheeler couldn’t get a car spot and missed the race. He knew he’d won though when he heard the crowd go wild.”

Given the explosion in prize money levels and advent of races like the Million Dollar Chase and The Phoenix, it’s hard to imagine what Fernando Bale’s earning potential would have been in 2022.

In 2019, the generational sprinter was ushered into the Victorian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame, the quickest induction post retirement in the sport’s history.

His entry into the Australian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame is a sheer formality where it can be argued that a greater level of recognition is needed to do justice to his profound influence.

Fernando Bale in full flight during his racing days

As a sire, Fernando Bale is already responsible for no less than 46 Group 1 wins since he burst onto the stud scene in 2017.

He has sired a remarkable 165 Group and Listed winners’ overall with champions the ilk of Tommy Shelby, Tornado Tears, Koblenz, My Redeemer, Sennachie, Whiskey Riot, Poke The Bear and current superstar Ferdinand Boy all off the Fernando Bale production-line.

Included in his seemingly never ending list of achievements is siring four consecutive Australian Cup winners and three out of the past four Melbourne Cup winners.

In just five years he’s eclipsed records that for a long time seemed inconceivable, and while now at a tender nine years of age, Westerveld says Fernando Bale’s longevity in the siring ranks has been assured.

“He’s a nine-year-old in the body of a four-year-old,” Westerveld said.

“His fertility is incredible and with science these days his legacy is secured for years to come. But as I said there will never be another one like him.”