Fascinating Waterloo Cup Final

Intrigue surrounds the outcome of Sunday’s $32,785 Waterloo Cup final at the Manukau Stadium. How will the race for New Zealand’s oldest racing trophy unfold from the 527m traps? That is where the intrigue sets in.

Pictured: Auckland GRC Chairman John Roberts with the time honoured Waterloo Cup

It is entirely appropriate that there is a degree of intrigue surrounding this Group 1 event as the Waterloo Cup is steeped in history after first being contested as a coursing event in 1878. 

The Waterloo Cup is also a pathway to potential additional riches for the race winner. A prized guaranteed field position is available in a heat for the world’s richest greyhound race, the A$600,000 TAB Melbourne Cup in November. The opportunity for the race winner to contest this event has been kindly provided by the Sandown Park GRC.

So how will Sunday’s Waterloo Cup decider pan out?

There is no denying that the Hayley Mullane trained Cristiane Cyborg ($3 – TAB Final Field, option 971) is an extremely exciting chaser – actually she’s freakish! And that’s where the intrigue sets in. She is a noted slow starter. She is sighted racing at her best in the more open spaces on the track where she deploys her known strength. You only need to check out her potent 25.61s Cambridge 457m Waterloo Cup last-to-first heat win to confirm those factors. She owns a tidy 30.34s best Manukau 527m time and her lower grade inside traps stats makes for tidy reading. The query is about trap one at this elite level?

“I honestly don’t know how she’ll go from there (trap one) – I’ll be happy as long as she come off the track okay. She really tries hard and she’ll give it everything she has. Just look at the way she comes home. I’m stoked to be part of this race. I cannot fault her condition – she is as hard as nails,” advised Mullane.

There is a glaring omission to the super 101 Group race winning training record the potent conditioners Dave and Jean Fahey have produced. The Waterloo Cup is the only Group 1 race in the country they haven’t mentored the winner of. They have provided the Waterloo Cup runner up on six occasions.

On Sunday the Fahey’s will line up three strong looking contenders. We’ll start with the current Auckland Cup title holder He’s All Power ($4.50). It was an impressive heat effort he put in at this venue last Sunday. He appeared to be a forlorn qualifying prospect when he was relegated back to the rear group when tangled up in a fair degree of first turn jostling. Unfazed by that he simply knuckled down to his task which saw him finishing powerfully for his three-length heat second behind Soaring Hawke.

“I reckon He’s All Power is now back in his best form. He does seem to suit the wider draws, although he’ll have to cross them at some stage. He has come through Sunday really well,” confirmed Dave Fahey.

Opawa Brad ($6) checked out the Manukau track for the first time back in June. He came away from that visit victorious with the Group 2 NZ Sires Produce Stakes trophy. He achieved his stylish 30.36s 527m win from the two trap. He will jump from that trap again on Sunday. And guess what – it was from the two trap where he delivered his professional Addington 30.43s 520m Waterloo Cup heat win from.

On that occasion he stuck to the rail and took a narrow gap on the home turn to scamper clear. You can expect him to employ the same racing tactics in the final. “Opawa Brad has drawn perfectly and his confidence is back. I thought his heat run was great and I expect him to hold the rail. He’s ready for a strong race on Sunday,” said Fahey.

Cristiane Cyborg He's All Power Opawa Brad

Cristiane Cyborg has earned her Waterloo Cup favouritism; Auckland Cup winner He’s All Power is now chasing after the Waterloo Cup; Opawa Brad seen here after his Manukau NZ Sires Produce Stakes win

The third Fahey prepared finalist Fair Pippa ($7) booked her passage north when delivering her 2.75 length heat second to Opawa Brad at Addington. She displayed early pace from trap seven. Drawing the eight trap isn’t likely to intimidate her, as seen by her handy looking stats from out there.

“She’ll be alright if she can ping away from out there as she’s okay from the wider traps. I’m not worried about it being her on-track debut. She’s all good for the final,” added Fahey about his charge who owns a high winning strike rate.

Soaring Hawke ($7) is returning to have another lick at a Group 1 title at this venue after she delivered a creditable fifth in the last edition of the Auckland Cup for her Cambridge trainer Peter Ferguson. Her last two Manukau 527m wins shows she’s right on target for a serious assault on this event. She did everything right when picking the jump in her heat last Sunday and that translated into an easy 30.57s win. A repeat of that tactic can see her being required to attend the post race podium.

“We’re rapt to be in a second Group 1 final with her – very proud of her. She is as bright as a button. Her early pace can help her although she needs that little bit of early luck. Things are going very well with her and she is now rewarding us. It has been team work in getting her there,” advised Ferguson about the way wife Wendy, son Dylan and helper Danny Laing all put in.

You have to consider Bigtime Paddy ($6) when speaking about greyhounds who own early pace. He can beat his poor trap five draw by replicating his known Hatrick Raceway on-the-pace racing style on Sunday for his conditioner Lisa Cole. He was brave when he cleared a tight pocket when racing into the Hatrick first turn in his heat. From there he scampered clear to deliver his effortless 30.07s win.

“I thought he went really well in his heat, especially as he had a fair bit of early pressure on him. He really knuckled down to his task then. He has early pace and he is stronger now – his run-home times are pretty good. I feel the experience he has gained from his previous trips to Auckland will help him on Sunday – it’s a matter of him putting it all together now. He is in great nick,” stated Brendon Cole, who of course prepared the recent Hall Of Fame inductee Little Mother to victory in the 2011 edition of the Waterloo Cup.

Local trainer Steve Clark knows a thing or two about mentoring Waterloo Cup winners having trained three previous winners of the race. On this occasion his kennel will be represented by Jimmy’s Rocket, who secured his place in this field via the Cambridge 457m heat. He led into the straight prior to succumbing to the powerful finish delivered by Cristiane Cyborg.

“To be fair Manukau isn’t his track, as he’s better suited to the one turn tracks. Hey, he’s in the field, which he deserves, and if a bit of luck goes his way, then yes he can earn a stake. I’m all okay with his draw as he’ll run dead straight to the first turn. He went super in a post-to-post trial at Manukau on Tuesday and he pulled up great from that,” confirmed Clark who is also very grateful of the help he’s receiving from others owing to the broken leg he is currently hobbling around with.

Soaring Hawke Bigtime Paddy Jimmy's Rocket

Waterloo Cup finalists (from left): Soaring Hawke; Bigtime Paddy; Jimmy’s Rocket

Craig Roberts is another trainer who has tasted Waterloo Cup success before, having previously conditioned three winners. On this occasion he is returning with Mina Allen ($21) who secured her place in Sunday’s field via her 7.25 length Hatrick heat second behind Bigtime Paddy. She will be making her track debut from trap three, although she did trial at Manukau last Sunday.

“She had a recent season and she is only now approaching peak fitness. I’m happy with her draw and on her day she can lead out. If she’s on the pace when turning for home, then she can get some of it (stake). I was rapt with her heat run, especially after she got an early touch up. She has come through her trip good and she has worked up great since,” said Roberts.

The first reserve is provided from the Wayne and Tracy Steele kennels. Kava Blu ($16) wound a 3.5 length heat third to Soaring Hawke at this venue. He was cut out of a final field position late when he was run down by half a length by his former kennelmate He’s All Power. Take a close look at him in race 12 if he doesn’t get a race start here.

Roberts had greyhounds entered in all four Waterloo Cup heats and he sent Letron James ($21) north to contest the Cambridge heat. His effort contained merit as he quickly found his preferred rail racing passage after jumping from trap six. He completed his heat assignment 3.25 lengths behind Cristiane Cyborg to nab the second reserve possie. He will be desperate to secure an inside trap in the unlikely event he is required here.

The Waterloo Cup winners this century, with their respective trainers have been:

2000  -  Rosie Hall   -  Alan Hall
2001  -  Aqua Fling   -  Delys Van Meeuwen
2002  -  Black Echo   -  Gary Cleeve
2003  -  Daphne Bale  -  Craig Roberts
2004  -  Rasmah Reason  -  Ben & Lisa Craik
2005  -  Nitro Bird  -  Denis Schofield
2006  -  Hello Awesome  -  Ian Hastie
2006  -  Thrilling Lucy  -  Karen Walsh

Two editions were contested in 2006 owing to a major change in racing dates.

2007  - Paddy Flyin’  -  Thayne Green
2008  -  Magic Spike  -  Steve Clark
2009  -  Tricky Shelley  -  Ray Adcock
2010  -  Sergio  -  Gary Harding
2011  -  Little Mother  -  Lisa Ahern
2012  -  Have A Yap  -  Denis Schofield
2013  -  Piggy Back  -  Steve Clark
2014  -  Blitzing Mayhem  -  Steve Clark
2015  -  Dyna Vikkers  -  Craig Roberts
2016  -  Thrilling Boris  -  Karen Walsh

Little Mother Sergio Blitzing Mayhem

Previous Waterloo Cup winners from left: Little Mother, Sergio, Blitzing Mayhem 

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 29/09/2017 4:59:59 PM

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