Can the Locals Win Their Invercargill Cup?

The locals will be very vocal in their support for the southern chasing star Southern Lights as the current Southland Greyhound of the Year seeks to win his home track $6,245 Colin & Orma Gray Memorial Invercargill Cup on Tuesday afternoon for local conditioner Roy Hamilton, who will box away his pride and joy for his 100th career race.

Pictured: The newly retired star greyhound American Warrior storming to his track record breaking Invercargill Cup victory last year (pic Dave Robbie)

Tuesday will be the third occasion that Southern Lights has contested his local cup on the big, sweeping Ascot Park track over the 457m trip. He finished sixth in his first attempt (2016), then he wound up third in last year’s edition which was emphatically won in track record time (25.57s) by the Dave and Jean Fahey trained American Warrior, who has just been retired after an outstanding race career.

Southern Lights, who is the winner of $105,006 in stakes, will carry the pink racing vest for his milestone race on Tuesday. He has no option but to jump straight onto the early pace. If he does that it will certainly be race on from that point for this holder of a 25.84s best 457m winning time around his home circuit.

It’s looming as a big week for Canterbury conditioner Craig Roberts with him being represented by the likely race favourite for this event with Rover Bale. This bloke is rapidly building a respectable race record at this venue, which includes his last start 26.06s meet best 457m winning time. He owns a sharp 25.64 best 457m clock at this venue.

Gary Cleeve is trekking south with Sarcasm who hasn’t fared that well in the box draw, having been allocated the five trap to step away from here. He isn’t known for his early pace, however he generally sighted doing his best work at the business end of his races as seen by his strong finishing NZRS Sprint 295m third last Thursday.

Rover Bale Southern Lights Sarcasm
Colin & Orma Gray Memorial Invercargill Cup contenders (from left): Rover Bale; Southern Lights; Sarcasm

John McInerney recently mentored Must Be Rusty to victory in the Dunedin Cup. This fella is seeking another Provincial Cup win after his charge once again displayed his affinity with the Forbury Park circuit when delivered his meet best 32.73s 545m winning time there last Tuesday. In doing so this owner of a best 26.13s Ascot Park 457m time attained open class chasing status.

McInerney also has two C3 graded chasers engaged in this event. Botany Alan is a vastly experienced chaser who does own early pace. He must use that asset from trap rise here just like he did when he produced his best 25.88s 457m clock here last September. Think Tank is better known as a short course sprinter. He has raced over 457m at this venue once where he set the pace prior to being run down late in a NZRS Advanced heat.

The field is completed by greyhounds supplied by a pair of local conditioners. Brett Connor is returning Zipping Clyde to 457m racing after his recent sprint outings which includes his last start C4/5 22.90s 390m win on his home track. He is proven over the 457m trip as seen by his tidy 25.87s best winning time. Connor also provides the sole reserve from his kennels with Sea Fever who is a C2 graded chaser these days. He showed early pace in his last two 545m and 457m races in that class.

Charlie Runkel secures the draw advantage in this event via the one trap for his trainer and the Southland Club secretary Bronwyn Eade. He has compiled handy looking trap one stats and his recent C3/4 457m efforts here has been sound. That includes his last appearance where he delivered a bold four length third to race rival here Rover Bale.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 7/05/2018 1:51:19 PM

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