Popular trainer Graeme Jose will be keen to add a Cranbourne Cup to his impressive resume after training a winning-double in heats of the Group-2 $50,000 classic on Friday night.
Jose will have Lots Of Chatter and Aston Shine engaged in the cup after scoring stylish victories in their heats.
After finishing second to Paua Of Buddy in the Bendigo Cup final last Saturday, Jose’s 85-start veteran Lots Of Chatter was striving to qualify for his second successive Cranbourne Cup decider after finishing fourth to Jax Bale in February.
Drawn in Box 8, as he was in the Bendigo Cup, Lots Of Chatter continued his purple patch of form, downing Xavien Bale in 29.77sec to chalk up his 31st career win and third from his past four starts.
“The only reason why I was glad we drew the eight is it does give him room to move and he makes his own luck,” Jose said.
“If he gets 10-15 metres clear room he’s nearly as good as the good dogs.
“But in saying that, if he’d drawn one, two or three tonight maybe it would’ve been a different result and he might have been down the track.
“He just needs a little bit of clear running, like in the Bendigo Cup heat when they fanned and he just went kaboom. That’s him in a nutshell.”
Aston Shine, who ran fourth in the Bendigo Cup, then completed Jose’s double with an all-the-way 29.89sec performance in heat five, his fourth win from his last five starts.
“I’m just in awe, I put in a lot of hard work and I think it’s paying off,” Jose said.
Jose was a star footballer around the Gippsland region in his day, winning the Alf Walton Medal awarded to the best and fairest player in the Ellinbank and District Football League (EDFL) when playing for Bunyip in 1994.
Meanwhile, David Geall’s ‘Midas touch’ in country cups continues unabated with Fernando Mick upstaging superstar kennelmate Koblenz – on the clock anyway – with a near-record performance in his Cranbourne Cup heat.
Geall, who’s won three country cups this year courtesy of Ferdinand Boy (Ballarat, Healesville and Shepparton) was one of three trainers to claim heat doubles.
Geall was victorious with long odds-on favourite Koblenz and Fernando Mick; Jose qualified his pair for back-to-back cup finals after both contested last week’s Bendigo Cup, while Andrea Dailly also had two winners in Lala Kiwi and Daph’s Ascend.
Fernando Mick, runner-up in the G1 Maturity Classic, set the qualifying standard in the opening heat, defeating defending Cup champion Jax Bale, also trained by Andrea Dailly, in a scorching 29.62sec.
His 13th win at start 44 was just .08sec outside the 29.54sec course record held by It’s A Blaze.
Koblenz, a regally bred son of Fernando Bale, starting at $1.30 in heat four and in a courageous display he dug deep to defeat outsider Gracie Bale in 29.86sec.
The win improved Koblenz’s phenomenal record to 22 from 35 and Geall is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky in a Group final, with the blueblood having run minor placings in the Cranbourne Classic and Warragul St. Leger at G3 level.
“I actually thought he was going to get beaten,” Geall told Troy Harley post-race.
“When Kinson Bale got to him I thought he was in a bit of strife. He couldn’t shake it off but he’s just courageous. Very happy with that last bit.
“Fernando Mick did surprise me by three or four lengths. I thought if he did win and get a clear run early we were hoping he might run 29.85/29.90sec.
Lala Kiwi improved her perfect record at Cranbourne to four from four, including the G3 Cranbourne Classic, with a dominant 29.78sec victory in heat two, and Daph’s Ascend then provided ‘Team Dailly’ with their second heat winner, taking out the final run-off in 29.88secs.
GROUP-2 CRANBOURNE CUP FINAL (525m)
Saturday, 30 October
Box Name Heat Time
1 Daph’s Ascend 29.88
2 Fernando Mick 29.62
3 Lots of Chatter 29.75
4 Koblenz 29.86
5 Aston Shine 29.89
6 Jax Bale —–
7 Lala Kiwi 29.78
8 Lucky Lance —–