Slick Chasers to Contest Waikato Classic

The Farmlands Hautapu Waikato Classic has always been a keenly contested New Year Group 2 457m event that has seen numerous Classic Aged greyhounds go onto to make their presence strongly felt in a wide range of later Group race events. The field for this Friday’s $20,825 decider contains numerous promising up and coming chasers.

Pictured: Allen Ablett who will start as the warm Waikato Classic favourite on Friday

Allen Ablett was sublime in the manner that he won his 457m heat on Christmas Eve. It was an ominous performance, especially considering he was making his Cambridge track debut outing, when he completed his heat assignment in a slippery 25.30s.

His trainer Craig Roberts is seeking back to back Group race victory’s with this exciting youngster following his recent Spion Rose Cup win over 520m at Group 1 level. Roberts lined Allen Ablett up in an open class 520m event back on his home Addington track last Thursday which he slipped through in an impressive 29.90s.

Roberts has also qualified Allen Ablett’s litter brother Avenger Bale after he delivered his 2.25 length heat fourth behind Bigtime Caleb. He has shown just as much talent as his brother, which suggests the possibility of Roberts’ training another Group race quinella like he did in the Spion Rose Cup when another litter brother Dirk Bale finished second in that final. Avenger Bale also contested the same Addington 520m Thursday race where he wound up fourth.

“I was rapt with Ablett’s heat run, especially considering he had never seen the track up there before. He is shaping into the nice dog I thought he would turn into. He has the right attitude; he does everything you ask of him and he doesn’t put a paw out of place. The only down side to him is that he is a lazy worker – that’s the reason, along with a decent break between the heats and final, why I raced the brothers on Thursday,” advised Roberts.

“I reckon Avenger’s draw (trap eight) will suit him as it will allow him to hunt up going into the first turn and from there he’ll run home strongly. He is strong as and nothing will get past him during the run home. Both brothers have pulled up great and are all set to go on Friday,” said Roberts.

Lisa Cole provides half of the drawn field, plus both reserves. Her leading prospect in the final is Bigtime Paddy, even though he gamely chased home Allen Ablett when finishing four lengths astern of him. The Group 1 Waterloo Cup winner stylishly won the Manawatu Cup over 457m on the similarly shaped Palmerston North based track. He returned back to Hatrick last Friday where he produced another sub 30 second winning 520m gallop when recording 29.90s. He must break quickly from trap three here.

As mentioned Bigtime Caleb was the other heat winner which he completed in 25.60s. He extended nicely during the run home to claim that win. He must jump straight onto the early pace from the two trap. If doing so then he can further enhance his sound looking track stats at this venue.

Avenger Bale Bigtime Paddy Bigtime Caleb
Farmlands Hautapu Waikato Classic finalists (from left): Avenger Bale; Bigtime Paddy; Bigtime Caleb

Me Jane will be paraded to the 457m traps wearing the red racing vest. It has taken her 30 races to finally secure that trap. She does own early pace therefore it can be expected that she’ll effectively use her draw. She completed her heat assignment ten lengths behind Allen Ablett. She also contested the Friday Hatrick 520m event won by Bigtime Paddy where she finished fourth.

The concern for the Cole team is their fourth finalist No Time Toulouse who will be loaded away into trap four. She owns known railing tendencies, therefore the possibility exists that she could crowd her inside drawn trio of kennel mates during the early rush for positions. She did jump from the four in her heat, which translated in her 2.5 length third to Bigtime Caleb. She also returned to Hatrick on Friday to contest a C2/3 520m race which she led throughout for her 30.42s win. Bigtime Levi and Bigtime Eve form the reserves bench from the kennel here after completing their respective heats in fifth place.

“I’ll tell you how our runners fare once they have jumped – it will all come down to what No Time Toulouse does from the traps. Yes Bigtime Paddy is our leading chance – as mentioned it will come down to those first couple of strides. All four of our runners have come through their recent races well and are ready to head north on Friday,” confirmed Brendon Cole.

A pair of northern trained greyhounds completes the drawn field. Pat Tama was bold in his heat for his mentor Steve Clark. He led his heat rivals when rounding the big, sweeping bend and it was only Bigtime Caleb who got past him during the run home when he wound up a length behind him. He is talented enough to make things rather interesting when heading into the turn on Friday.

“He has to use his strong mid-race sectional and if he does, then yes he can feature in it (finish). He must get the lead going into the turn as he isn’t as strong as others in the field during the run home. It will be great if he can finish in the money. I trialled him at Manukau on Sunday where he went super. It was a good blow out and he pulled up great,” said Clark.

Beautiful Boy has done a great job to qualify for his first Group race assignment for his trainer Ben Craik, who is helped by his daughters Lisa and Tracy. He achieved his Friday field placement when delivering his bold handy to the pace 5.75 length heat third to Allen Ablett. It is his ability to race handy to the pace that puts him into contention in his races. Jumping from trap seven says he must use that asset. Overlook his lead in Friday traffic impeded 375m sprint at this venue.

“We were pleased with his heat run and he has come through his racing great. Yes, we would have preferred a draw closer to the rail however hopefully he jumps from the seven and he puts himself into the first three going into the turn. If he is up there, then he’ll have a genuine stakes winning chance,” said Tracy Craik.

No Time Toulouse Pat Tama Beautiful Boy
Farmlands Hautapu Waikato Classic finalists (from left): No Time Toulouse; Pat Tama; Beautiful Boy

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 4/01/2018 10:31:10 AM

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