By Mick Floyd
Hadeel Bale is a good greyhound on her day.
After all, she’s now won 11 races – including four in the city.
But it’s been some time since it was her day. It had been 17 starts since her last win, at a Sandown provincial meeting on 22 December last year. The win before that was her last triumph in town – 31 starts ago – at the Meadows on 28 September 2019.
Hadeel Bale’s form had tapered so much that she’d only run a place in five of those starts during her run of outs, and of the 54 Grade 5 greyhounds nominated for the meeting, she was ranked 51st and was only drawn as a reserve.
But with the scratching of Busy Bella that morning, Hadeel Bale came off the reserves bench to jump from Box 6 in the first leg of last Thursday night’s quaddie at Sandown – a more difficult mixed grade event than what she had been set for. Trainer Correy Grenfell wasn’t exactly thrilled with the result.
“I was more disappointed when she gained a start because she had Box 1 tonight at Geelong!” he said, laughing.
“She can show very good speed at times, but she’s not the same as she was a few months ago.”
The Watchdog rated her a $41 chance but punters were less confident – she was showing $47.20 by the time the green light was turned on.
But Hadeel Bale can’t read a form guide. When the lids opened, she showed that early speed her trainer said she can show at times to cross the field and lead the field through the first turn. She opened a gap as large as four lengths down the back, but as they turned for home that margin had been halved.
Still, the brindle flyer wouldn’t be denied, sticking fast to the rail and prevailing by the barest of margins.
Her fixed odds starting price of $81 was the equal fourth-highest Sandown Park winner in the TAB fixed odds era, and the highest-priced winner since Miss Zok Dee broke punters’ hearts in November 2019 when she saluted at $101.
With odds-on favourite Squiggle Keeping finding trouble and running last, the trifecta paid a whopping $2977, and the first four $7542. For quaddie players the dividend was $3591 – even with Black Opium winning the last leg at $1.50. Not that it mattered for most… the 80/1 pop had turned most quaddie tickets to confetti long before the last leg.
Those who backed the winner are part of an elite – or at least lucky – group that doesn’t even include the trainer.
“Nah, I haven’t had a bet in a long time,” Grenfell said.
And to be fair, he didn’t need to. The trainer’s share of the winner’s cheque is $2800.
A career in the breeding barn is on the horizon for Hadeel Bale.