Aussie Dominates Ashburton Cup Field

It’s time for the annual TAB licence hosted by the Ashburton Club to be conducted which occurs at the Addington Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Pic: Kava Blu easily winning his Ashburton Cup last year (pic Dave Robbie)

As usual their feature event is the $6,000 Connie Smallridge Memorial Ashburton Cup which has attracted an intriguing looking field. Intriguing because there are three recently imported Australian greyhounds who will line up for their NZ race debuts in this 520m event.

Dave and Jean Fahey-trained Kava Blu to win this race last year and they have accepted with the former New South Wales chaser Runway Bono for Sunday’s edition. He arrives here on the back of recent Wentworth Park 520m misses, however he does own a very smart 29.65s best winning 520m time around the Sydney headquarters. His race record indicates that the business end of his races is his strongest point having been the winner of staying races.

Incidentally Dave Fahey reports that their NZ Cup winner American Warrior is all good after his recent Manawatu race fall and he is heading towards the forthcoming South Island Champs heats (June 22).

Craig Roberts has accepted with three contenders, plus he also has the second reserve. He is undertaking the training duties of another of the imported Aussies with Dyna Boomer having recently slotted into his kennels. He brings solid looking Victorian form across the Ditch with him, although his trap form looks like the inside traps best suit him. He will be hopping away from trap eight here.

Allen Hadrian is likely to enjoy returning to racing on his home track after his completely luckless recent sojourn up on the central districts tracks. That included his fall during the initial attempt of the running of the NZ Futurity at Hatrick. It doesn’t really get any better for him in this event as he’s required to jump away from the five trap. He does own sound Addington 520m form.

Kennelmate Letron James will enjoy stepping from trap two here. He has contested Group races and he has put his best paws forward from the inside traps. He holds post-race podium claims owing to that. The second reserve Resident Djay is another recent Roberts’ imported chaser who owns strength. He missed in his only Addington 520m outing which was in a Group 2 heat. He then went on to contest the recent Palmerston North hosted North Island Challenge Stakes final at Group 2 level where he was tangled up in an early melee, losing all claims.

It is great to see a couple of Southland-trained chasers heading north which includes the strong, consistent Roy Hamilton prepared Southern Lights. He makes his return to Addington after his strong last start Ascot Park 630m victory. He will be sighted charging home over the concluding stages on Sunday.

Brett Connor is now providing the finishing touches to the third of the recent Aussie imports in this field. Sea Fever is another former Victorian who has crossed the Tasman with sound looking form, which includes Sandown Park 515m winning form. He will be sighted first up in his new country wearing the blue racing vest.

Securing the draw advantage via the ace trap here is Justin Ryan from the Steve and Bonnie Evans kennels. He will be facing his stiffest career test in this lineup after having just completed his C3 racing engagements. He has been allocated the one trap to step from and he was a winner the only previous occasion he occupied that trap. He does own early pace.

Completing the drawn field is the Bruce Dann prepared With Pride who will be loaded away into the three trap as the 30.52s winner of her last start C3/4 520m assignment here. She had dropped out of the open class chasing ranks to achieve that win in her first downgrade race.

Allen Hadrian Southern Lights With Pride

Connie Smallridge Memorial Ashburton Cup contenders includes (from left): Allen Hadrian; Southern Lights; With Pride - pics supplied by Dave Robbie - drobbie@ihug.co.nz – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos

The first reserve here is no slouch either. John McInerney guided Cosmic Odette to victory in the recent NZ Oaks final at Group 1 level at this venue. It is her early pace that is her greatest asset and she can make things rather interesting for a long way here if she gains a race start.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 17/06/2017 8:29:35 AM

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