Early Rush Crucial in the Kingston Cup

It will be the eight trap at the Addington 732m start where most eyes will be focused when the traps lift to release the field for the $15,825 Kingston Cup final on Thursday evening at Group 2 level. Exiting from that trap will be the classy stayer Ring The Bell.

Pictured: Opawa Cheviot delivering his 43.74s Kingston Cup heat win (pic Dave Robbie)

Ring The Bell ($1.50, TAB Final Field – option 963) stumbled when leaving the traps and he seemed to spread his hind quarters in doing so which saw him settling a clear last. He was gallant in setting off to bridge the gap which he bravely tried when going under by a head and length margins to Little Bit Funny. Trap eight is the only trap that this Ray Adcock prepared stayer hasn’t won from (eight starts - three minor placings).

“He has done well since his heat, I just hope he does everything right on Thursday. I feel it’s not a bad draw for him (eight) – if he stays out there he is likely to get a clear run. Yes, he spread his hind legs when coming out of the boxes last week. There’s no issues with him after that,” advised Adcock.

Dave and Jean Fahey have qualified half of the drawn Kingston Cup field. They provided the quinella in the heat when leading Ring The Bell home. Opawa Racer ($12) bravely led for the majority of the journey until she was outstayed by his kennelmate Little Bit Funny ($9) during the run home with a head separating the pair. Their heat was completed in 44.07s.

“Both of them need to race handy if they’re going to be in it. Little Bit Funny is slightly stronger, and while Opawa Racer has enough early pace, it is the later stages where she struggles a bit over that distance,” said Dave Fahey.

It was a strong staying effort that Translator ($6) produced in her heat when after settling a fair way off the early pace, she steadily but surely improved her field position with every stride, which resulted in her finishing stoutly for her 3.2 length heat second behind Opawa Cheviot.

She will enjoy drawing closer to the rail (trap two) which can see her settling handier to the early pace on Thursday. “She is definitely the strongest of our stayers and she is our best chance owing to that. Her draw can certainly help, although she doesn’t want to get crowded early,” suggested Fahey

Completing the Fahey representation in this final is Runaway Bono ($12), who set his heat alight by setting up the pace for a long way. This proven stayer from across the Tasman got the wobbles during the run home which saw him fading to ultimately finish 5.25 lengths behind Opawa Cheviot.

“He has to lead out, get a break on the others and hope for some trouble behind him. Looking at the heat times, he would have been right up there with our other two in the other heat. All of our runners have pulled up good and are all ready to go on Thursday,” stated Fahey.

Little Bit Funny Translator Runway Bono
Dave and Jean Fahey trained Kingston Cup finalists (from left): Little Bit Funny (checks) leading home her kennelmate Opawa Racer for her heat win; Translator and Runway Bono following their heat placings (pics by Dave Robbie)

There could be additional interest for the Fahey’s in the Kingston Cup final. They start Thursday’s racing having trained a remarkable 99 Group race winners. During the afternoon they will line up two greyhounds in the $15,825 Angus Wright Memorial Interisland Invitation which is a Group 2 457m event (race 11, 3:05pm). Maybe they’ll bring up 100 Group race training successes in the north, or maybe the super milestone might occur later in the evening on their home track.

Stylishly winning his heat was the Steve and Bonnie Evans prepared Opawa Cheviot ($9). He initially settled just behind the pace from where he got himself into a challenging position when racing down the back straight the last time. He took control of his rivals on the final turn from where he cleared out to score by 3.25 lengths completing his task in 43.74s.

“Yes, that was a very good heat win by him – we were really pleased with it, especially with the way he ran out the 732m so strongly. Hopefully he carries on with it. There’s a bit of early pace in the race so I would like to see him settle behind them and get into clear air on the outside line. He’s away when he gets his own space. He has come through his heat perfectly with no problems whatsoever,” confirmed Steve Evans.

Gary Cleeve is rather relieved that his stayer Know Jinx ($18) has drawn the ace trap here. This dual Group 1 staying place getter took around 730m to get herself into a final field qualifying position after she jumped from trap eight. She has shown a distinct preference for racing along the rail.

“I was a little bit disappointed with her heat effort, however at least she poked her head out at the right time. I’m very happy with her draw - it’s where she needs to be. Hopefully she’ll get clear racing air and do things right in the final. She came through her heat good and I was happy with her final gallop,” said Cleeve.

Waimac ($41) for John McInerney is returning to contest another 732m Group race final at this venue. He was a finalist in the NZ Stayers Cup after having won his heat (44.28s) then. He settled in the rear group in his heat from where he pressed on stoutly to book his place in this field when finishing 3.1 lengths behind Little Bit Funny.

“He hadn’t been going so well going into his heat although he has always gone okay in his staying races. It was pleasing to see him running on in the way he did in his heat. He has done well since last week,” advised Jonathon McInerney.

Opawa Cheviot Ring The Bell Know Jinx Waimac
It was a crowded podium following Opawa Cheviot’s heat win; Kingston Cup finalists Ring The Bell, Know Jinx and Waimac (pics by Dave Robbie - drobbie@ihug.co.nz – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos)

Velvet Girl ($81) was extremely brave when only just missing a place in the drawn field for her trainer Bruce Dann when she was nosed out of fourth in the very final stride by Know Jinx. She will take up the first position on the reserves bench here, however if she doesn’t secure the one scratching she requires to make this field, then take a close look at her from the ace trap in the race six C0D 645m event.

Know Worth ($51) is the second reserve for Cleeve after being sighted racing handy to the early pace she basically remained in the midfield pack afterwards which saw her finishing fifth. She is one of only four stayers in this field who has previously won over this 732m distance.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 23/08/2017 4:12:23 PM

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