Christo Out To Defend McKenna Crown

CHRISTO Bale’s quest for back-to-back McKenna Memorial titles gets underway at Sandown this Thursday in heat two of the $40k feature.

Adam Dobbin

30 June 2021

CHRISTO Bale’s quest for back-to-back McKenna Memorial titles gets underway at Sandown Park this Thursday night in heat two of the $40,000-to-the-winner feature.

And the prolific winning powerhouse couldn’t go into the Group 2 showpiece in better form, winning seven of his past eight appearances for trainer Mark Delbridge.

“He’s going every bit as good as he was going into the race last year and if you look at his form you’d have to say better,” Delbridge said.

“He hurt a triangle muscle in late March and as it’s turned out the break has done him great … he’s come back as good as ever and it’s not worrying him at all.

“Just a mighty dog that gives his all every start.”

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK THURSDAY

Victorious at 27 of his 63 starts, Christo Bale was at his rampaging best when slugging out a gritty 600 metre win at The Meadows last Saturday night in 34.49.

It was a performance that signalled the six-time Group 1 finalist was cherry ripe for his McKenna Memorial defence.

“It’s a bit of a shame he hasn’t won a Group 1 yet but 600 is his best distance and the majority of big Group 1s are over 500 and 700,” Delbridge said.

“In the Group 1s he’s been in he’s placed a few times and been beaten by some great dogs.

“If he can win another Group 2 next week we’d be more than happy.

“He’s been a wonderful dog that just gives his all every time he goes around.

“When he first started I knew he was going to win plenty of races but not this good.”

Delbridge’s assault on the McKenna Memorial gets underway in heat one where he’s represented by Sandown Cup hero Zipping Rambo (box four) and Graclyn Bale (box two).

In heat three, Delbridge lines up Jarick Bale from box one, the same draw he was beaten from as an on odds-on favourite at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Jarick Bale – a younger half-brother to Christo Bale – has won both his Sandown 595 metre starts, including a personal best time of 33.87.

“We’ve got some great chances and I’d be disappointed if we didn’t qualify a few for the final,” Delbridge said.

“I like Christo Bale drawn out in box six and Zipping Rambo will be a lot better for last week’s run. Since his win in the Speed Star it’s just been hard getting races for him.

“Graclyn Bale and Jarick Bale are right in their races as well. Jarick Bale stumbled and went up with the lids at The Meadows on Saturday night but his run after that was still very good.

“I’d be disappointed if he didn’t win or at least run second on Thursday. He’s drawn box one and is desperate for the rails.”