Amazing Racing Seen in the Amazing Chase Matches

Absolutely amazing is the only way to describe what transpired in the four, two-dog head-to-head matchups with just 200th of a second separating three of the four 527m match winners in the inaugural running of the $30,500 Formpro Amazing Chase on Sunday afternoon.

Pictured: The inaugural Amazing Chase winner Shantui

It was Thrilling Flo who threw down the gauntlet to the other contenders when she posted a swift 30.24s opening match time for Karen Walsh. She applied the pressure to her match rival the Ray Adcock prepared series favourite Tom Tee right from the jump when she cut out her first sectional in 4.68s, which turned out to be the equal quickest.

Thrilling Flo completed her second sectional in 15.51s (third fastest) from where she extended strongly using her known staying strength to run home in 14.73s (fastest). Her 30.24s set an imposing time standard for her rivals to follow.

It was an all Lisa Cole second match race which saw her favoured contender Bigtime Paddy leading his opponent Bigtime Bell throughout to claim his match win in 30.52s. Bigtime Paddy’s recorded sectionals was 4.71s, 15.53s and 14.99s.

There was keen anticipation surrounding the third match up which featured the Karen Walsh trained kennelmates Ridin’ Shotgun and Thrilling Raider. As expected it was the inexperienced greyhound Ridin’ Shotgun who won the break and he equaled Thrilling Flo’s 4.68s first sectional. He reached the back mark in a quick 15.38s which at that point put him in front. He lost a few tenths during the run home, which he completed in14.85s, however his earlier strong work translated into a 30.23s clock, placing him into the race lead.

There were just two greyhounds left to race against the clock. Shantui held the early advantage for his conditioners Dave and Jen Fahey over Matt Robert’s charge Cawbourne Trixy when exiting the traps. Shantui reached the first mark in 4.74s, which obviously left him with a fair amount of work to do. He then got to the back mark in 15.44s. From that point he was required to produce a real strong run home time – he achieved that which he completed in 14.78s.

All eyes was riveted on the infield timing board which had stopped at 30.2(?) – with everyone awaiting for the final decimal point to flash up. There was a resounding audible gasp that went up from the crowd when the board revealed the official 30.22s race time.

No one could have predicted what turned into a pair of noses separating the first three greyhounds. It sure was a truly remarkable series of match races. The official times and therefore the overall placings for all greyhounds was – Shantui 30.22s, Ridin’ Shotgun 30.23s, Thrilling Flo 30.24s, Tom Tee 30.37s, Bigtime Paddy 30.52s, Thrilling Raider 30.56s, Bigtime Bell 30.68s, Cawbourne Trixy 30.76s.

Shantui Ridin Shotgun Thrilling Flo
Handler Ross Mathers with the Formpro Amazing Chase winner Shantui; runner-up Ridin’ Shotgun was brought back to the podium by Jenny Bartlett, while Sophie Whittaker returned with her favourite greyhound, the third-placed Thrilling Flo

The Fahey’s had dispatched their longtime kennel foremen Ross Mathers north as they stayed at home to celebrate their granddaughters’ third birthday. Because of the rural location they were in they had difficultly hearing the official times, and therefore the results. It was Darryl McLachlan, the head of the owing Pave The Way syndicate who confirmed the winning result to the Fahey’s. It was fitting call, as over many years numerous classy greyhounds McLachlan has been involved has been mentored to many big race victories by the Fahey’s for him.

“I knew Flo’s time and thought there was no way Shantui could beat that, then Darryl rang us. Yes, it’s a great result for us. He’s a strong greyhound and he has been getting fitter, although I wasn’t sure just how fit he was,” advised Dave Fahey who added, “We’re are very grateful to Greyhound Racing NZ who had the foresight to introduce the event.”

The Fahey’s themselves had the foresight to take Shantui up to trial on the Manukau track around a month ago. There is no doubt that tactical move was the difference between winning and losing the Amazing Chase title with their chaser, who had been heavily supported in the earlier TAB Futures market.

Ross Mathers patiently waited around with Shantui for all the post race pics and said prior to heading off to the swabbing bay, “I couldn’t be more proud. He was right up against it when looking at the time he had to run. Firstly, I was stunned, then ecstatic when I realized he had the fastest time.”

Karen Walsh very sportingly accepted her narrow defeat saying, “I’m very proud of my dogs, they did everything I asked of them. For the final result to come to a whisker decision tells me this concept has a big future. I’m excited by this series and I’ll be back next year.”

A guest during the meeting was Mick Floyd, the Racing & Media Manager for the Sandown Park GRC (Melbourne). It was him who introduced the match race Speed Star format to Sandown, which has now turned into a hugely successful event.

“To have three heats with 200th of a second between them was extraordinary. I was impressed with what I saw over here. The crowd reaction was great with people going ooh and ah when the times flashed up. As a format the concept clearly works. It is greyhound racing in its purist form – it doesn’t get any better than this,” commented Floyd.

It was also a great initiative by Greyhound Racing NZ to partner a charity into the event. KidsCan is an extremely worthy cause and early indications looks like KidsCan will benefit by around $7,500 from the associated fund raising activities involving the Amazing Chase. $3,000 of that came via the $100 fee the connections of the 30 nominated greyhounds contributed.

GRNZ Chairman Craig Rendle confirmed that next year’s Amazing Chase event will be hosted by the Wanganui Club at Hatrick, while the series will move onto the Addington Raceway in 2019.

Julie Chapman Neil Davis Mick Floyd Craig Lisa Sel
On course compere Tommy Thompson was kept busy doing interviews throughout the afternoon which included from top left: Julie Chapman (KidsCan); Neil Davis (Formpro), Mick Floyd (Sandown Greyhounds), GRNZ Chairman Craig Rendle acknowledged everyone who put together the Amazing Chase concept, long time Auckland office manager Lisa Craik completed her last day with the club, seen here with Auckland Chairman John Roberts, there were a number of ‘couch potato’ retired greyhounds on course, included was Harvey Nicholls who is now with Selwyn and Marilyn Loader

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 31/07/2017 4:31:44 PM

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