The brilliant Irma Bale will be searching for her third Group victory in the space of two months after drawing box two in Saturday night’s Group 2 AWM Distance Championship at The Meadows.
The daughter of Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale – making her a sister to Meadows 525-metre track record holder Heston Bale – has been in devastating form of late, taking out the Group 1 Sandown Cup in June and the Group 2 McKenna Memorial just 11 days ago.
Her white-hot galloping continued at The Meadows last Saturday night in the first of the AWM Distance Championship heats, taking advantage early before racing away from nearest rival Czar, scoring by seven lengths in a Best of Night 42.84.
Irma Bale is trained by Graeme Bate, who also puts the polish on Group 1 Maturity Classic favourite Barcia Bale in what could be a memorable night for the maestro from Lara.
Some of her main rivals include up-and-coming stayer Arising, who brilliantly handled his first step up to the half-mile journey, taking over in the latter stages of the second heat to score a two and a half length win over Double Champ in 42.93. The son of Bombastic Shiraz and Pure Elle will start from box seven, a draw he has been successful from twice from just three starts.
Reigning Group 1 Gold Cup winner He Knows Uno will start from box five after running third behind Irma Bale on Saturday in his second hit-out over the 725 metres at The Meadows. The Mick Patterson-trained chaser had won six races on the trot before his placed effort last start, and will certainly be one of the leading contenders.
Andrea Dailly will go into Saturday’s final with a two-pronged attack after Fyna Bale (box three) and Lektra Jay (box six) qualified with fourth and third-placed efforts behind Arising, and both have solid recent form to rise into contention.
Next week will be a fantastic night of racing, with lots of prizes on offer for on-course patrons, including a home-theatre package, pamper packs for the ladies, children’s bikes and dinner packages in The Meadows’ upstairs dining room. Along with the AWM Distance Championship, the running of the Group 1 Hudson Pacific Maturity – worth $100,000 to the winner – will cap off a huge evening of racing at The Meadows.