By James Broadhurst
Hecton Bale will spearhead trainer Enzo Crudeli’s team of three chasers in the final of the Lew Dorsa Memorial (520m) at TABtouch Park Cannington on Saturday.
The classy veteran flexed his muscles with a commanding victory in 29.78 during his heat last weekend and now joins kennelmates Verne Allen and Snazzy Whompo in the trophy decider.
Hecton Bale will likely start as favourite but all three dogs have claims following a favourable box draw.
The Crudeli trio will occupy the first three alleys on the grid with Verne Allen in the pole, Snazzy Whompo next box over and Hecton Bale will launch out of three.
Given the other heat winner and main danger, Eighty Eight, has drawn awkwardly in box six the race has opened up for team Crudeli.
“I was joking before the draw that boxes one, two and three would be great so I won’t complain,” said kennel foreman Graham Crudeli.
“Our dogs are drawn to perfection.
“Hecton Bale should get a nice clear run to the corner but if either of the other two happen to be in front they’re both strong so they’ll be hard to run down.”
The Crudelis took a punt when they brought Hecton Bale over to WA late last year so they are understandably thrilled, not to mention a little relieved, to see the greyhound have success and have their investment pay dividends.
The 2018 Australia Cup winner was purchased along with several other high-profile greyhounds from the eastern states, including the likes of Verne Allen and Dyna Dean.
Hecton Bale was easily the jewel in the crown of that group despite the fact that he had been winless in his final six months of racing in Melbourne.
The speedy black chaser arrived here with a huge reputation but he had a slow start for his new kennel, producing a solitary win from his first seven starts.
“He came over with spilt webbing and was off for six weeks or so, which gave us the opportunity to put him to stud for a short stint,” Crudeli explained.
“When we put him back in work he trialled well but his first few races for us were sub-par.
“It wasn’t the start we wanted with him but he’s always had the ability and we knew it wouldn’t take him long to turn things around.”
Hecton Bale announced his return to form with an impressive win in a heat of the Perth Cup and then followed up with a very nice effort to finish second in the final behind Orson Allen.
His victory in last week’s Lew Dorsa heats confirmed his comeback.
“He’s raced against the best all his life so he knows what he’s doing,” Crudeli said.
“He’s pulled up (after the Lew Dorsa heat) a million dollars and is raring to go.
“He’s jumping out of his skin.”
Crudeli believes that Hecton Bale can hit some truly ominous form now that the greyhound is firing on all cylinders.
“Now he’s racing with confidence he should just get better and better,” Crudeli said.
“I think there’s more improvement in him and we should see the very best of Hecton in the next few weeks.”
The Lew Dorsa Memorial (race 5) is scheduled to jump at 8.32pm on Saturday night.