Amity Bale clinched her third consecutive Group race title with a stunning win in the $36,000 Group 2 Sir John Dillon Memorial at Sandown Park tonight.
Clearly the best stayer currently racing, Amity Bale was sent to the boxes a $1.40F on SuperTAB but was as much as $1.80 on course.
However it was kennelmate Jarvis Bale ($15.60) who made the best of the start, jumping well with Headley Bale (18.90) and Drill ‘Em ($5.30) to lead through the first turn. Amity Bale trailed the leaders past the winning post the first time and the order remained unchanged entering the back straight.
Shadow Boxer ($8.60) made a dashing run down the back, but Amity Bale went with him and rounding the home turn, the pair had the leaders in their sights.
Drill ‘Em eased off the fence as he turned for home which allowed Amity Bale to surge through the gap on the rails to clinch the $25,000 first prize in 42.24. Drill ‘Em battled on well to finish 2.25 lengths adrift, while National Distance Champion Jarvis Bale was a further 1.5 lengths away third.
The win was her fifth from seven starts over the Sandown ‘half-mile’ and took the 2008 Solo Melbourne Cup finalist’s prizemoney beyond $200,000.
“She’s just a great chaser,” said trainer Graeme Bate.
“When I let her out in the yards at home she’ll run 500m or 600m on her own so she trains herself. She just loves to run”
The news soon got better again for Bate when his exciting youngster Dyna Forte claimed the second feature race of his blossoming career by taking out the Group 3 South Australian Derby while Bate was on the dais at Sandown accepting the Sir John Dillon Memorial trophy.
“I’m looking forward to watching the run when I get home,” said Bate with a laugh.
Six Solo Melbourne Cup Preludes supported the Group 2 feature on an outstanding night of greyhound racing at Sandown Park.
Sydney-sider Repeated broke his Sandown Park maiden status with an impressive win in 29.75, while My Lippling (29.98), Railway Max (29.98), Papa Cool (30.14), True Kihael (30.05) and Mepunga Diva (30.29) each booked their berths in the heats of Australia’s richest greyhound race, the $250,000 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup, the final of which will be run on Thursday 26 November 2009.
The final Solo Melbourne Cup Prelude series will be run on Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout night, Thursday 12 November.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th Shadow Boxer ($8.60), 5th Princess Uno ($51.40), 6th Tifi ($23.70) 7th Headley Bale ($18.90) and Dr.Slipstream ($61.10).
Raced by Paul Wheeler, Amity Bale is a Black Bitch whelped September 2006 by Sonic Flight from Evonne Bale (Light Of Fire x Frosty Bale) she has raced 67 times for 27 wins and 24 placings and with the $25,000 first prize for the Dillon Memorial her overall stake earnings went to $207,045.
Graeme Bate will now head towards the heats of the Group 2 Hume Cup at The Meadows on October 24, followed by the heats of the Group 2 Summer Cup at Wentworth Park on November 7. Before a return to Sandown Park for the heats of the Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup on Schweppes Melbourne Cup heats night on Thursday November 19.
Thursday night's race was the 31st running of the Sir John Dillon Memorial and listed below is the past outstanding stayers who won the event.
Sir John Dillon Memorial Honour Roll
- 1978 Darville's Flyer
- 1979 Traduce
- 1980 Blue Brew
- 1981 Lone Voice
- 1982 Supplier
- 1983 Madam Cecie
- 1984 Sheila's Teresa
- 1985 Caddie's Champ
- 1986 Pharaoh's Mask
- 1987 Bold Trease
- 1988 Blazing Bub
- 1989 Rules
- 1990 La Dancer
- 1991 Modern Express
- 1992 Hanson Blaze
- 1993 Rich Return
- 1994 Hypa Din
- 1995 Joint Mission
- 1996 Shirlabella
- 1997 Red Mystique
- 1998 John Beam
- 1999 Paparazzi
- 2000 Osti's Joker
- 2001 Bentley Babe
- 2002 Westend Prince
- 2003 Arvo’s Junior
- 2004 Arvo’s Athena
- 2005 Texas Gold
- 2006 Miss Brook
- 2007 Kulu Magic
- 2008 Fallen Zorro
- 2009 Amity Bale