Dailly Duo To Star In Sapphire Showdown

IT’S been two decades since the Daillys have won the Sapphire Crown but it’s expected their name returns to the honour roll at Sandown Thursday.

Adam Dobbin

18 May 2021

IT’S been two decades since the powerful Dailly kennel has tasted victory in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown but it’s expected that their name will return to the honour roll at Sandown Park this Thursday night.

21 years ago it was the Tom Dailly-trained Dutchy’s Angel which saw in the new millennium with an emphatic victory in the Group 1 bitches classic.

But while the signature kennel has lined up many topline bitches in the series over the past 20 years a second victory has eluded them, reinforcing the fierce competition at the highest level.


Thursday night will see the kennel represented by gun bitches Qwara Bale (box six) and Shima Classic (box three), the duo currently favourite and second favourite for the $100,0000-to-the-winner final.

“Both bitches are going into the race in perfect condition – I couldn’t be happier with either of them,” Tom Dailly said.

“But it’s a quality race and with so much speed I reckon we’ll know the winner after five or six strides. That’s how competitive it is.”

Qwara Bale heads into the final off a dashing 29.28 heat victory which extended her Sandown Park record to three wins from as many appearances.

The daughter of Allen Deed went into the series fresh off a pulsating victory in the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup (450m) where she left a hot field of more experienced top class greyhounds in her wake.

“Boxes don’t really worry her; it’s all about how she steps,” Dailly said.

“She’s a bitch in top form and she came out of last week’s run great.”

But while Dailly admits the scenario is fairly straightforward with Qwara Bale it’s a vastly different story for Shima Classic, qualifying for the final with a second placed effort behind Carry On Star in 29.67.

In a heat of the Group 2 Ballarat Cup five runs back Shima Classic came out under the lids to score in 24.76 – her brilliant beginning the trademark of her brief career which saw her qualify for the Australian Cup at just start nine.

But at her four most recent starts the regally bred youngster’s box manners have completely deserted her, something Dailly admits is a cause for concern heading into Thursday night.

“It’s got me buggered,” said a blunt Dailly.

“We’ve done a bit of box work with her but whether that works or not we’ll know on Thursday night. She’s a quality bitch and early on her box manners were perfect.

“We’ll know our chances with her after two strides on Thursday night but the ability is there. I thought her heat run was pretty gutsy after missing it the way she did last week.”

Team Dailly will line-up the favourite in the second Group 1 of the night when Shima Shine takes his place from box two in the Harrison-Dawson.

Last week the champion son of Barcia Bale stormed into a seventh Group 1 final with a sublime 29 flat heat win, the performance enough to see bookies install him a solid $2.40 favourite from box two.

“The draw suits and he’s well in himself but he was pretty flat the day after last week’s run,” Dailly said.

“He’s a dog that ideally would have 10 days between runs because he just puts that much into his races. But with heats and finals we don’t have that luxury so we’ve been pretty easy on him this week.”