Andrew Dale’s strong 2022/23 season continued at Balranald on Saturday, with the Wangaratta conditioner training a double, while he combined with Brad Vale to win the Balranald Cup with Legal Zou.
The $14,000 Balranald Cup was the feature race on the six-race non-TAB program, and Vale ‘fell in’ on Legal Zou ($6.50), which pipped the Phil Sweeney-trained Bezazzalled (Teighan Worsnop, $7) by 0.16 of a length, while in third and 0.74 of a length back was the Nathan Hobson-trained Upswing (John Robertson, $9).
“We got the dream run,” Vale said.
“You wouldn’t have scripted it any better, and everything opened up, and we got the right runs at the right time, and he just fell in to win.
“Full credit to him; he really dug in for the win.”
Legal Zou has turned into a nice country cups horse for connections, having started 38 times for six wins and eight placings, and the five-year-old has really fired this preparation, with the Zoustar gelding winning three of his last five starts.
Five starts ago he just got home at Tumbarumba, while two starts back, he won the Finley Autumn Cup at Berrigan, which had him primed for Saturday’s big win at Balranald.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what this horse can do in the near future, as there are some nice country cups to come,” Vale said.
“There is Tocumwal coming up, then Holbrook and I’ve not spoken to Andrew about where he is going, but I’m guessing he will target those races.”
Vale also has an opinion of Threetimeslucky, which was the second of Dale’s winners at Balranald.
The four-year-old broke through for his maiden win at start number 17 when taking out the 1000m Maiden Plate.
“He won really well,” Vale said.
“I was sort of expecting that type of run at Berrigan, but you could tell he needed the run.
“He definitely improved off the run at Berrigan, and I thought the 1000m might have been too short, but it was another great move by Andrew in dropping him back to 1000m, because he did pull a bit at Berrigan.
“At Balranald, I had a lap full of horse at the hundred, and it responded and was a bit too good.”
Vale said it was a good day at Balranald, and he was very impressed with the condition of the racecourse.
“It wasn’t a bad crowd; it was a lot younger crowd, and the youth was there, which is good for the club,” Vale said.
“The size of the fields was good, and it was the same at Berrigan and Carrathool, and it is showing Racing NSW that the horses are there, and finally after Covid and everything, these meetings are ready to go.
“As far as the track, it was spot on, and the turf there was good; it was perfect, and the best I’ve ever seen it.”
Southern Districts racing moves to Albury this week, with the club hosting their annual two-day Albury Gold Cup carnival on Thursday and Friday before Tullibigeal host their picnic race day on Saturday.
Words: Jeff Hanson
Image: Di Metcalfe Photography