By Gerard Guthrie
Superstar speedster Koblenz was born to win a Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup and Australia’s – make that the world’s – best bred greyhound did just that with a sensational front-running exhibition at Sandown Park on Friday night.
Koblenz is a son of 2015 Melbourne Cup runner-up turned champion sire Fernando Bale and Up Hill Jill, a dual G1 winner and 2017 Melbourne Cup finalist, trained by David Geall and bred by wife Rose.
It was Lara-based Geall’s second Melbourne Cup triumph in four years, having won the world’s greatest race in 2018 with My Redeemer.
Koblenz’s memorable all-the-way victory was a Geall family celebration, with the blueblood raced by the Geall Gals syndicate, which also includes David’s brother Jeff and his wife Marie.
“Such a relief – really special because we bred this guy,” David Geall said to Jason Adams post-race.
“I’m just so happy. Jeff, my brother, part-owns him and I know at home Mum and Dad would’ve leapt off the couch, gone through the lounge room window and over to the racecourse!
“I’m very grateful – winning two Melbourne Cups in four years. It’s just unheard of from where I’ve come from.
“My dream was to try and win one Melbourne Cup, but to win two is just sensational. I’m over the moon.”
Koblenz had to survive a drama-charged and unprecedented dead heat as the $1.30 favourite in his heat one week earlier to qualify for the 66th running of the Cup.
Drawn in Box 3 in the $500,000 to-the-winner final, Koblenz was the $4.30 second elect, with superstar Aston Rupee the $2.10 favourite from Box 4.
Much interest centred on what Aussie Secret ($10.40) would do from Box 1, but Koblenz took care of any potential trouble with a blistering start, leading easily with a 5.04sec first split.
Koblenz opened up what would be a decisive advantage in the back straight and while Lala Kiwi ($7.10) emerged from the pursuing pack as a threat, he kept kicking to score by .96 of a length in 29.40sec, with Kinson Bale ($13.20) running third ahead of Aston Rupee.
“When he was still leading by a couple … you’re never sure in this game,” said Geall.
“He is a front-runner but he’s a strong front-runner!
“Just the relief when he hit the line – sensational.”
Koblenz’s second Group victory, following the G2 Cranbourne Cup last month, improved his imposing record to 26 from 39, he’s won nine of his last 10, with his next appearance almost certain to come in the inaugural Phoenix at The Meadows on Saturday, December 18.
Geall reserved special praise for Koblenz’s mother Up Hill Jill, winner of the G1 Topgun in 2017 and G1 Golden Easter Egg in 2018, who has dispelled the theory of champion females rarely producing top class talent, on the sport’s greatest stage.
“I love her,” Geall said.
“What she has done for us. I thought of her as her son crossed the line.
“We owe her everything, she owes us nothing.”
Earlier in the night Gypsy Wyong won the G1 Bold Trease for the stayers – click here for a wrap.
Click here for all results from TAB Melbourne Cup night
Other feature race winners on the night were:
Gypsy Wyong (Andrea Dailly): G1 Bold Trease (715m)
Graclyn Bale (Mark Delbridge): G3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m)
Hennessey (Ashlee Terry): Provincial Plate (515m)
She’s Refined (Jacqueline Greenough): GRV Vic Bred Maiden Final (515m)
Photo Man (Gavin Clifton): Super Vic Greys Final (515m)
Barooga Smoke (Brooke Ennis): TAB Cup Night Sprint (515m)
Hank The Hustler (Jeff Britton): TAB Cup Night stayers (715m)