The Graeme Bate-trained Barcia Bale will start a red-hot favourite to make it ten wins from as many starts in next Saturday night’s Group 1 Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic at The Meadows, worth $100,000 to the winner.
The son of Go Wild Teddy and Princess Bale remained unbeaten with a devastating 29.84 semi-final victory after giving main rival Ima Geisha Girl a start and a beating in an astounding display of speed. After a super 4.99 split by Ima Geisha Girl, Barcia Bale quickly ranged up and raced away down the back straight, stopping the second sectional timer at 17.60. From there, the Paul Wheeler-owned star made it nine Best of Night wins from as many starts, and will start a short-priced favourite after drawing box three in Saturday’s final.
Litter sister Desalle Bale looms as his main rival after drawing box one in the age-restricted classic, continuing her love affair at The Meadows with an all-the-way 30.05 win over Group 1 Peter Mosman finalist Odie For Now. The black chaser has now won six races on the trot, including four from four at The Meadows.
Desalle Bale and Barcia Bale are part of a four-pronged attack for the Wheeler family, who have already enjoyed amazing success in 2012.
Other semi-final winners Gettin Slizzard and Hannie Bale have not drawn well in the Group 1 classic, drawing box four and seven respectively. Ima Geisha Girl, who will face Barcia Bale for a third week on Saturday, has drawn box five, while the classy Odie For Now will enjoy his box eight draw.
Next week will be a fantastic night of racing, with lots of prizes on offer for those on course, 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 Maturity Classic, the running of the Group 2 AWM Distance Championship – worth $40,000 to the winner – will cap off a huge evening of racing at The Meadows.
What’s happening on race night?
On Course, Robbie Testa is MC and will conduct interviews in the lead up to the Maturity final. There will be entertainment for the kids, all free. There will be plenty of Mystery Bet Combos on sale. (i.e) $10 worth of bets with bonuses attached, they have proved very popular on other big nights.
There will also be lots of prizes on offer for those on course, including a home-theatre package, pamper packs for the ladies, children’s bikes and dinner packages in The Meadows’ upstairs dining room.
Some Maturity Classic fact and figures
Sixteen favourites have won the Maturity Classic since it was first staged in 1970. Of those ten have started odds on.
The race record at Olympic Park was 29.80 held by Storm Glade, since the race transferred to the Meadows the fastest winners are Brett Lee and Shereen Bale at 29.75.
The longest priced winner is Poetic Magic at $27.40 he won in 2005.
Graeme Bate has won the race on four occasions with Storm Glade (1985), Hay Dinney (88), Northern Legend (95) and Shereen Bale (2011)
The only other trainers to produce more than one winner is Darren McDonald with Brett Lee (2001) and Hallucinate (2004).
Some of the most famous winners and most noted start with Temlee (74), Satan’s Legend (78), Pharaoh’s Mask (86), New Tears (87), Hay Dinny (88), Best Of Blue (89), Eureka Man (90), Northern Legend (95), Coriole (99), Brett Lee (2001), Hallucinate (2004), El Grand Senor (2010) and last year’s winner Shereen Bale.
Winners that have produced winners:- Temlee produced Satan's Legend & Murchison Champ, New Tears produced Northern Legend and Brett Lee produced Hallucinate.
Only four bitches have won the Maturity Warrenwood Girl (75), Overflow Love (77), Coriole (99) and Shereen Bale last year.
In the last decade five of the 10 winners started favourite.
The Maturity Classic was first held at Olympic Park in 1970 when won by talented sprinter Phantom’s Heir first prize at that time was $1250. The prizemoney increased marginally until 1975 when it went to $3,500. In 77 it was $5,600 and jumped to $7000 in 79 before going to $10,000 from 1980 until 1987 the year the mighty New Tears won the race. First prize went to $15,000 for seven years then to $20,000 for two years and reached $30,000 in the year 2000.
In 2001 it was worth $40,000 and the Classic was won by AGRA Hall Of Famer Brett Lee. It was elevated the next year to the amount of $50,000 and again this year in line with Group race increases as of the 1st July 2011 and is now worth $75,000 to the winner.