Two Kennel NZ Cup Heat Domination

It was the Dave and Jean Fahey plus Craig Roberts show at the Addington Raceway on Thursday evening, as between them they trained four of the five Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup heat winners. They also had a liberal sprinkling of heat minor placings.

Pictured: Ride Ain’t Over delivering the quickest NZ Cup 520m heat time (pic Dave Robbie)

It was a mixed bag of heat results, which with a couple of notable exceptions, saw the bulk of the favoured contenders making it through to the next Wednesday’s semifinal rounds. Actually owing to a couple of the NZ Cup prelude qualifiers filling qualifying positions, plus the stand down of a qualifier, meant the first six greyhounds in each heat (one is a reserve) all advanced.

The very smart Avenger Bale for Craig Roberts was warmly supported to take out the first heat and he duly obliged, although he was given a bit of an early shake up by his kennelmate Letron James who pinged straight into the race lead.

Avenger Bale railed underneath Letron James on the home turn to comfortably claim the heat in 30.16s by a 4.25 length margin. Letron James bravely held onto second a nose in front of the strong finishing Dave and Jean Fahey prepared Shreddin’.

The leading trio was followed in by Hard Questions (Gary Cleeve), Opawa Cheviot (Steve and Bonnie Evans) and Epic Dream (Ray Adcock). The seventh placed runner in this heat, Opawa Bard (Fahey’s), becomes the second reserve for all four semi finals.

Avenger Bale’s litter and kennelmate Allen Ablett was just as warmly supported to win the second heat however he was out jumped from the traps by Fair Pippa from the Fahey kennels. This pair then embarked on drag race for the entire 520m trip. It was Fair Pippa who used her known strength to prevail in 30.33 shading Allen Ablett by a three quarter length margin.

The Auckland Cup title holder He’s All Power (Fahey’s) was the next to arrive a further two lengths astern. Coming in after him was Sadder Nation (Cleeve), Penalty Bale (Roberts) and Opawa Norris (Robin Wales).

The Fahey’s struck again in the third heat when they produced the multiple Group race winner Opawa Shackley fresh up to deliver a spectacular freewheeling 30.46s victory after jumping from trap five. It sure was great to see her back on the track doing what she does best – winning races.

It was also great see the bold return to the races by Tom Tee for Adcock. He has had his recent issues and he would have derived immense benefit from his outing when finishing 3.5 lengths behind Opawa Shackley. Rover Bale (Roberts) was next home, three quarters of length behind although unfortunately he won’t return after he copped a stand down. Filling the remaining qualifying positions from this heat was Cactus Jack (Fahey’s), Nozzno Fear (Ashley Bradshaw) and Runway Bono (Fahey’s).

Avenger Bale Fair Pippa Opawa Shackley
Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup first heat winner Avenger Bale with trainer Craig Roberts; Mark Lim handled the second NZ Cup heat winner Fair Pippa; Opawa Racing team members Robin Wales and Graham Campbell joined handler Nathan Breen following Opawa Shackley’s stylish win in the third NZ Cup heat (pics Dave Robbie)

Robin Wales broke up the two kennel domination when he produced Opawa Jimbo to deliver a bold pace making 30.26s win in the fourth NZ Cup heat. The $36.20 shot jumped smartly from trap eight which set up his victory. Closing stylishly on him late was Allen Hadrian for Roberts and he was gallant when going under by a three quarter length margin.

Boldly stalking the leading pair throughout was Crotty for Ashley Bradshaw and he was rewarded with his third placing a further six lengths back. Arriving in behind them was Quistis Bale (Roberts) then Must Be Rusty (John McInerney). The sixth placed Mazu (Fahey’s) will be the first reserve for all semis.

There was a real sensation in this heat where the defending NZ Cup title holder American Warrior (Fahey’s) was severely checked on numerous occasions, which unfortunately saw him exiting from this year’s edition.

The fireworks really ignited in the fifth and final NZ Cup heat. Ride Ain’t Over (Roberts) and Shantui (Fahey’s) drew the inside two traps – both have shown a preference for racing wider out on the track. So much for that theory - this pair of classy chasers came away from the traps fairly humming and they dictated terms to their heat rivals with a display of sheer power chasing.

It was all about Ride Ain’t Over as he drew clear to deliver his potent 29.95s heat win. Shantui maintained his strong gallop arriving home five lengths behind while it was his kennelmate Opawa Timo who extended nicely during the run home to wind up just three quarters of a length back in third.

Filling the remaining qualifying positions from the final heat was Harry Fields (Adcock), Panel Beater (Fahey’s) and Helski Bale (Roberts). Joining all of those qualifiers from the heats in the semis are another four greyhounds who were exempted from the heats owing to their recent NZ Cup Prelude placings. Dirk Bale (Roberts), Cosmic Odette (McInerney), Nature’s Gent (Angela Turnwald) and Cristiane Cyborg (Hayley Mullane) will be lining up in those semis on Wednesday.

Opawa Jimbo Opawa Jimbo Ride Ain't Over
Opawa Jimbo delivering his upset NZ Cup heat win and he was joined back at the podium by his trainer Robin Wales (left), along with Graham Campbell and handler Nathan Breen; it was a proud family podium occasion for Norm Wanhalla (second right) as family members greeted Ride Ain’t Over back to the podium - pics supplied by Dave Robbie - – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos

Pawnote: It sure was a rough introduction to Australian greyhound racing for Bigtime Paddy at Sandown Park in Melbourne on Thursday night. He jumped from the four trap and he was ranging up handy to the early pace when approaching the judge with a lap of the track to run when he was jostled which was followed by a decent race ending check when rounding the first turn. Bigtime Paddy did show sufficiently, prior to those incidents, to give a glimmer of hope for the future if he manages to receive a clear early racing passage from an inside trap.

Bigtime Paddy
Bigtime Paddy parading prior to his Thursday Sandown Park debut outing – pic thanks to Mick Floyd, Sandown Park GRC

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 3/11/2017 2:31:29 PM

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