Big Time Aussie Assignment

Star New Zealand sprinter Bigtime Paddy will make his Australian debut at Sandown Park this Thursday night ahead of a tilt at the world’s richest greyhound race, the A$600,000 TAB Melbourne Cup in November.

Pictured: Bigtime Paddy with his Waterloo Cup trophy

Bigtime Paddy arrives in Australia following an impressive run of form. He won the Manawatu Cup in his final start before crossing the Tasman, just two weeks after securing New Zealand’s oldest feature event, the Waterloo Cup. The Waterloo Cup win granted Bigtime Paddy an exemption into the TAB Melbourne Cup heats on Friday 17 November, presenting an opportunity his connections had no hesitation in embracing.

“We were ecstatic ourselves, and it was very good for Craig Rendle who has been a big part of the set up and has a big involvement as owner. It was also very pleasing for the staff, they work so hard and are very proud of the dogs,” Brendon Cole told TAB Trackside TV.

“It’s been a plan of mine to breed dogs, get them across the Tasman and compete in the big races. This is part of the dream. The ultimate aim is to race dogs over there. It’s the toughest racing in the world, particularly in Victoria. It has the biggest prize money and the hardest racing so you can’t kid yourself, you’ve got to go over there with dogs that are genuine.”

Bigtime Paddy will have his work cut out for him on his Sandown Park debut where he’s drawn box 4 (race 5, 10.28pm NZT) against the likes of Raw Ability (recent winner of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup), Leo’s Gift, Zipping Angus, Riley Tokaam, Rippin’ Hayne and Lektra Forrest who delivered a slick 29.79s 525m win at The Meadows last Saturday.

“Their fifth grade racing is like our group racing over here. You really need to be able to keep your line and withstand the pressure from dogs coming around you. He’s a real hard chaser and a real good railer. He does everything you can ask of him and you just hope for a bit of improvement with time and age.”

Co-owner Craig Rendle told GRNZ following the Waterloo Cup, “This win is huge for me. I view the Waterloo Cup as our version of the Australian National series, with heats held throughout the country. He was the youngest dog in the field who had a top preparation for in. Its huge congratulations to the entire Cole team, both family and staff. They really get stuck in and get the job done.”

Rendle is also rightfully excited about the Melbourne venture, saying. “I believe in ‘horses for courses’ with getting the right dog onto the right track and I believe Paddy with his box speed is the perfect dog to race at Sandown”.

Only two New Zealand greyhounds have contested a Melbourne Cup final in the race’s 61 year history. Kwik Metal won the Cup in 1974, while Above All finished fourth in the 2014 edition. Both greyhounds came to Australia after two race starts in the native land before continuing their racing careers in Australia.

Bigtime Paddy is the first New Zealand greyhound to contest the Melbourne Cup series since the Waterloo Cup was granted exemption status in 2015. Bigtime Paddy will race under the guidance of John Galea during his Australian sojourn.

Pawnote: Bigtime Paddy has trialed on Sandown Park. First up he completed a box to box trial then he trailed over the 515m race distance in 29.77s.

Bigtime PaddyBigtime Paddy Melbourne Cup
Bigtime Paddy with Sam, Brendon and Georgie Cole along with co-owner Craig Rendle; Bigtime Paddy with handler Sam Lozell after his Manawatu Cup win; the trophy that Bigtime Paddy is chasing after – the hand crafted TAB Melbourne Cup

Click here for Thursday’s fields and form.

By Mick Floyd - Mick is the Racing and Media Manager at Sandown Park. He's spent over a decade promoting the sport of greyhound racing, and claims to be the millionaire greyhound Fernando Bale's biggest fan.
Additional reporting by Peter Fenemor

Posted on 1/11/2017 10:12:40 AM

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