No Wheelchair Required for Norm

It was back in January this year when the sharp John McInerney trained Wheelchair Norm last graced the Addington Raceway. He returned to the Christchurch headquarters in emphatic style on Friday afternoon to deliver his searing 16.94s 295m sprint when effortlessly winning his heat for The Fitz Sports Bar Galaxy Sprint.

Pictured: Wheelchair Norm flying to his The Fitz Sports Bar Galaxy Sprint heat win (pic Dave Robbie)

Seven The Fitz Sports Bar Galaxy Sprint heats decided the short course sprinters who will return to contest next Wednesday four semifinals for this Group 1 series.

Wheelchair Norm was sublime when he cruised home for an effortless five length win in the third heat. Leading the chase home after him and delivering a real beauty track debut effort was the northern sprinter Highland Laddie from the Hayley Mullane kennels. It was a blanket finish for the other placings which saw Amino Trouble (Ashley Bradshaw), Miss Fanning (Bruce Dann) and Oppie Bale (Craig Roberts) being placed in that order.

The first heat resulted in the race favourite Custom Paint prevailing when he finished strongly to claim the heat win by a head margin for his trainer Calum Weir, clocking 17.21s. It was the McInerney prepared Botany Cold who took a flyer from the traps and he was gallant when delivering his second. His kennelmate Princely Gold was the next home, followed in by Hilton Open (Bradshaw) and Cawbourne Britty (Roberts).

Next up it was the fresh up Flower Bomb who gave an impressive display of sprinting when she cleared out along the rail to claim the second heat in 17.21s for Bradshaw. Storming Norm also impressed for Invercargill trainer Brett Connor after he maintained a solid sprint throughout for his second 2.5 lengths behind. Coming in after him was Opawa Sheldon (Robin Wales), Express Gun (Ray Adcock) and Know Hassle (Gary Cleeve – semi first reserve).

Wheelchair Norm Custom Paint Flower Bomb
The Fitz Sports Bar Galaxy Sprint slippery heat winner Wheelchair Norm with Johnathon McInerney along with Ceana Smith and their son Isaac; Calum Weir returned to the podium with his heat winner Custom Paint; Flower Bomb scored in a fresh state seen here with handler Pete Seque

We move onto the fourth Galaxy heat where a very tidy sprinting display was produced by the Lisa Waretini prepared Saraya Jayde who cut between her rivals to nail her 17.33s heat win. Sarcasm for Cleeve finished resolutely just half a length behind and three quarters of a length ahead of Seriously Grand for Weir. They were followed in by Culvie Lass (Tony Hart & Kristy Taylor) and Homebush Kelso (McInerney – semi second reserve).

Onto heat five and it was master trainer Ray Adcock who produced the warm favourite Birdie Tee to scamper clear to secure her smart 17.16s heat win. Opawa Waihemo came home soundly to claim second for Wales and last year’s Galaxy Sprint runner up Fliberty Jiberty remains in this series for Bruce Dann after being the next to arrive home. After this trio we saw Valyrian Steel (McInerney) and Another Cruise (Andy McCook & Janine Jopson) being next in.

Ohoka Clare hopped away nicely from trap seven which resulted in her slipping around the outer to provide Waretini with her second heat winner when she clocked 17.27s for her 295m dash. Chasing her home four lengths astern was Detective Dash (McInerney), while last year’s Galaxy winner Swimming Goat came through a tight pocket to remain in series contention when claiming third 1.25 lengths behind for Weir. Arriving next was Peaky Boy (Jasmine Tanner) (Adcock) and then Howie Bale (Roberts).

All that remained was for Dann to produce Believe to take out the final heat in 17.18s which he achieved when leading throughout after jumping from the one trap. Talk Talk pushed around the outer to claim second 1.25 lengths behind for his conditioner Alison Lee, while the evergreen sprinter Puma Pants held down third for team McInerney three quarters of a length further back. Coming in next was Watta Gunn (Adcock) and then Jinja Rules (McInerney).

Saraya Jayde Birdie Tee Ohoka Clare Believe
It was wonderful to watch (on Trackside TV) an emotional Alysha Waretini place Saraya Jayde on top of the podium; Daniel Lane did the handling duties for Birdie Tee; Alysha Waretini returned to the podium with Ohoka Clare; while Bruce Dann did likewise with his heat winner Believe - pics supplied by Dave Robbie - drobbie@ihug.co.nz – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos

Pawnote: Crotty was an injury related (webbing) withdrawal prior to the box draw for the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup semi finals. His place in the box draw was taken by Mazu, with his kennelmate Opawa Brad now holding the first possie on the reserves bench. Moving into the second reserve position for all four semis is Zipping Clyde.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 3/11/2017 4:33:19 PM

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