Poke The Bear Loses Brave Fight With Cancer

AN emotional Darren Puleio has paid tribute to his mighty chaser Poke The Bear after the retired son of Fernando Bale lost his battle with cancer on Friday.

Adam Dobbin

20 February 2021

AN emotional Darren Puleio has paid tribute to his mighty chaser Poke The Bear after the retired son of Fernando Bale lost his battle with cancer on Friday night.

Winner of 37 races from 69 race starts, Poke The Bear provided owners Darren and Michael Puleio and trainers Jason and Seona Thompson with a long list of racetrack memories during his wonderful career.

Capable of wowing racegoers with his tantalizing finishing bursts, Poke The Bear’s passing has been felt hard at the Puleio household with the grand son of Fernando Bale considered part of the family.

“It is with a heavy heart I would like to announce that our much loved champion Fred (aka Poke The Bear) lost his battle with cancer last night,” a devastated Darren Puleio said.

“He was more than a race dog to us, he was a pet, a friend and an absolute gentleman.”

It was back in November that Poke The Bear was diagnosed with cancer at just five years of age.

“When we first got the news I was just hoping he could make it to his fifth birthday which was Christmas Day – and he did,” Puleio said.

“It gave us all time to say our goodbyes but the obvious priority was that he never suffered for a moment – which he didn’t. You will forever be in our hearts and remain one of the best ever. Miss you buddy.”

Poke The Bear, renowned for his striking all white markings, is from a famed family out of grand brood Nicki Fields, his litter winning 139 races and over $1 million in prizemoney.

He is also a half-brother to Hooked On Scotch, the dual group 1 winner making big waves at stud.

Poke The Bear’s crowning glory came with his epic Group 1 Topgun win in 2018 while he also annexed the Traralgon Cup and Silver Bullet in that year.

“He’s a one in a lifetime,” Puleio said.

“Not just for what he did on the track but the amazing friend he was too. He’ll always hold a special place here.”