By Gerard Guthrie and Molly Haines
Orson Allen celebrated the biggest win of his career on Saturday night, adding a deserved country cup triumph to his resume with a brilliant all-the-way victory in the Group 2 Spolly’s Syndication Cranbourne Cup Final (520 metres).
Trained by 25-year-old Correy Grenfell, Orson Allen was making his fourth appearance in a provincial Cup, having previously contested finals at Geelong (second), Bendigo (fourth) and Warragul (sixth).
Orson Allen’s previous feature titles were both won at Sandown in the Group 3 Shootout and Listed Australian Sprint.
“This is what we train for – to get the rewards like this,” Grenfell said.
The superbly-bred son of US sire, KC And All, and Group winner, Desalle Bale, Orson Allen was the fastest qualifier for the $47,000 to-the-winner Cranbourne Cup after a near-record 29.61-second heat victory just .01 outside Pop the Cork’s 520m benchmark.
Drawn in box three, Orson Allen was the $3.20 second elect, behind Seona Thompson’s $1.70 favourite Poke The Bear (box two), with Poke The Bear’s kennelmate Azkaban ($9.10) the only other runner at single figures.
Orson Allen came out running and Grenfell’s pre-race confidence was vindicated in breathtaking style as his greyhound opened up a race-winning lead in the back straight, going on to defeat Poke The Bear by more than four lengths in another scorching run of 29.77sec.
“We’ve been desperate to get an inside box with him,” said Grenfell.
“He’s been in plenty of Group races now and he probably should have won a few more than this. He’s got the ability.
“We wanted everything to go right like it did last week. We weren’t real confident we were going to win this one but on the box draw we were definitely a bit more confident going into the race than we were in a few other Group races. He jumped to perfection tonight and won the race.
“Poke The Bear is one of the best dogs going around at the moment and it’s good to see Orson Allen beat him – in that fashion too.”
There was more good news for Avalon-based Grenfell at The Meadows when Orson Allen was confirmed as a starter and drew ideally in box two for the Group 1 Temlee (525m) to be held on Saturday on the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival.
“We could only have dreamt to have box two in a Temlee,” offered an upbeat Grenfell. “If he pulls up well and everything goes according to plan this week, he’s going to be a big show.”
Looking further into the future, Grenfell is optimistic about Orson Allen’s stud credentials.
“There’s been a few people after the race already ask for straws,” quipped Grenfell.
“He’s by KC And All and Desalle (Bale) on the dam side. She was Barcia Bale’s sister and she was a star in her own right, so I don’t think you can go past his breeding.”
Earlier on Cranbourne Cup night, the heavily-backed Boom Down careered away with the $10,000 to-the-winner Ram’s Security Victoria Cup over 699m.
Trained by Steve White at Buln Buln East, Boom Down relocated from NSW in late 2018 and was having just his fourth start in Victoria when sent out at $3.30 from box four in the Victoria Cup, with Hot Tip the $2.20 favourite.
Boom Down took the lead mid-race and couldn’t have been more impressive as he romped to victory more than eight lengths ahead of Hot Tip in 41.34sec. This is his seventh win from 24 starts and second from four appearances in Victoria.
The Cranbourne Cup was the finale of the third annual Gippsland Carnival, which brought crowds to Gippsland greyhound tracks in Sale, Warragul and Cranbourne.
Although this year’s Traralgon Cup was postponed due to track safety issues, the TRFM Gippsland Carnival was a huge success and the series has quickly become a staple of the Victorian greyhound racing calendar.