‘King’ Ferdinand’s country cups bonus

Ferdinand Boy (5) leads Hill Top Jonah (1) Aston Merit (2) and Tiggerlong Tonk (6) during the SEN Track Healesville Cup Final.

by Gerard Guthrie

Superstar sprinter Ferdinand Boy confirmed his status as Victorian greyhound racing’s country cups ‘king’ with a breathtaking victory in Sunday afternoon’s Group 2 SEN Track Healesville Cup (350m).

It was Ferdinand Boy’s third country cup title in 2021, with Lara trainer David Geall, who bred and races the regally-related son of Ferdinand Bale and Nayla Swift, a half-sister to Geall’s dual G1 winner Up Hill Jill, in partnership with wife Rose, celebrating a $100,000 payday.

In addition to the $50,000 Cup winner’s purse, Ferdinand Boy was also the recipient of a $50,000 bonus for winning three Victorian country cups in a calendar year, having reigned supreme at Ballarat and Shepparton earlier in the year.

Making the occasion even more memorable, Geall also prepared third placegetter Hill Top Jonah, Ferdinand Boy’s ‘cousin’.

“Absolutely over the moon,” said a delighted Geall.

“What a huge thrill. I just said to my wife Rose that after he won I didn’t even think about the money or the bonus, I just thought ‘We’ve won the Healesville Cup!’

“The great thing about this is that I’ve got a large family and I know they all would have been going berserk watching the race!”

Unbeaten in six appearances at Healesville, including the fastest heat performance, Hill Top Jonah started $2.60 favourite from Box 1, ahead of Ferdinand Boy at $3.10 from Box 5, which ran a close second in his heat to the unbeaten Aston Geneve ($7.20).

The only other runner at single figures was Tiggerlong Tonk at $7.50, which started favourite in the 2020 Cup when sixth to Zambora Lou.

While Geall felt Hill Top Jonah was his best chance, courtesy of a better draw, Ferdinand Boy rose to the occasion, burning to the front with a 6.42sec first split and dominating proceedings as he defeated the strong-finishing Tiggerlong Tonk by 2.67 lengths in a flying 18.88sec.