Silver Collar Athletes Are All Set to Rumble

Can the powerful greyhound Ring The Bell successfully defend his Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar title? Will Dusty Gambler extend his unbeaten NZ record out to eight wins? Is there another stayer in the field who can upstage these two quality stayers? The answer to these questions will be revealed at around 4pm at the Manukau Stadium on Sunday afternoon when the 48th version of the stamina sapping 779m endurance test concludes.

Pictured: Ring The Bell is attempting to be become just the second dual winner of the prestigious Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar

The eight canine marathon athletes received a day less for their back up assignment this year following the 24 hour postponement of their scheduled heats from last Sunday owing to the torrential rain and associated track damage that had occurred over the long weekend.

Just one greyhound has won two Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collars during the previous 47 editions of the 779m staying test. That greyhound was Tivoli Tom (1992 & 1994), who was prepared by the late Pat Patterson. This Sunday afternoon at the Manukau Stadium Ray Adcock, who was a training rival and friend of Patterson, is seeking to emulate that achievement with last year’s Silver Collar winner Ring The Bell ($3 – TAB Final Field, option 991).

Ring The Bell gave his staying rivals a comprehensive hiding twelve months ago when he cruised to his effortless 11.75 length victory. The ageless stayer showed he’s right on track to serve up a repeat dose when he delivered his emphatic 47.47s heat win on Monday. The rain sodden nature of Monday’s track is clearly illustrated when looking at last year’s 46.22s winning time – a staggering 20 length difference. We know that the six day turnaround won’t have impacted on Disco (kennel name) whatsoever.

Just like he was last year, Ring The Bell is being looked after in the north by Thayne Green. “Disco pulled up really good. The following morning you wouldn’t even know he had a race. He has enjoyed a hydro bath and he’s as frisky as ever,” advised Green.

Ray Adcock, who had driven his charge north, said when back at home, “Yes, that was what I expected from him. He was conditioned enough to handle those conditions and once he drew trap one (heat) I was confident. He has drawn nicely from the final and Thayne tells me he’s as bright as a button.” Ring The Bell is nicely boxed away in the two trap for the final.

Dusty Gambler ($2.10) has done everything right since he crossed the Tasman and entered into Karen Walsh’s Tirau based kennels. He has won all seven of his races including two at Group race level. He required 47.85s to complete his assignment which aside from the track conditions was also impacted on by his rocky early racing passage.

Dusty Gambler is generally sighted racing on the pace – he eventually did so on Monday. Drawing out in trap eight for the final is likely to assist him. “He was caught in early traffic and he had to do fair amount of work in his heat to reach the lead which I guess was reflected in his time as his effort told on him over the later stages.

“I’m rapt he has drawn the eight trap as he won’t take a sit – he’ll stay out there and push forward. He’s pretty bright and has been bouncing around on his lead like a lunatic during the week,” advised Walsh about the finalist who she trains for owner Gary Harding, who has owned four previous (trained two) Silver Collar winners.

Cristiane Cyborg ($6) adds the intrigue factor to this event for her trainer Hayley Mullane after her traffic impeded heat third to Ring The Bell. She was the runner up to Dusty Gambler in the recent Wanganui Distance (755m) and she would have derived benefit from her first taste of 779m racing.

“Her draw (one) isn’t the best for her as she’ll look to get out. I’m stoked with her and I expect a really strong race from her especially on hopefully a dryer track. I feel she wasn’t able to use her acceleration on the slushy track in her heat. I can’t fault her (other than her draw!). Hopefully she’ll get a clear early run,” said Mullane. Cristiane Cyborg’s mum Nina’s Girl won the 2011 edition of the Silver Collar when prepared by Dave and Jean Fahey.

Ring The Bell Dusty Gambler Cristiane Cyborg

Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar finalists (from left): Ring The Bell; Dusty Gambler; Cristiane Cyborg

Speaking about the Fahey’s, they are returning with two contenders (plus they provide the first reserve). Translator ($13) has had the perfect preparation heading into this final. In her heat she bounced away nicely from the six trap to chase after the freewheeling Ring The Bell. She maintained a solid gallop throughout winding up 3.75 lengths behind him.

They also mentor Pirate’s Curse ($16) whose heat effort was quite extraordinary considering the racing tactics he adopted. His blue racing vest was sighted lobbing along behind all of his heat rivals, a position where he stayed for the greater portion of his heat. It was when rounding the final turn when he advanced from where he rocketed home to claim his heat fourth behind Dusty Gambler. He was actually the first stayer to catch the lure. .

“I was happy with Translator’s heat run – it was a good first look at the track and she should be improved after that experience. I would expect her to get handy to the early pace. Pirate’s Curse – well that’s him, you never know what he’s going to do. He needs another lap as he’ll run all day,” said Dave Fahey, who has Vicki Keeping ($21) sitting as the first reserve. She is from a proven staying family and she will be another beneficially from her look at the Manukau track. “All three of them returned home in good nick. You wouldn’t know that they had races. .

Trip To Eden ($16) has had a change of trainer since his heat, now being conditioned by Nyomi O’Regan. This proven Group race winning former Australian stayer bravely stuck to his task when he kicked on solidly for his length heat second (dead heat) to Dusty Gambler after he raced handy to the pace throughout. He has just recently returned to racing from a spell therefore it will be interesting the see how he backs up again on Sunday. He has been provided with the tricky five trap to exit from.

Dead heating for second with Trip To Eden was the Angela Turnwald prepared Argus Filch ($11). His heat effort was really gallant after he was hindered and noticeably slipped during the running. He is from a proven Australian staying family and he has done nothing wrong since his recent switch up in race distances.

“We didn’t really know what to expect from him over the 779m trip, especially with the intimidation of some proven stayers in the field. I thought his heat effort was full of merit when considering he got tangled up during it. He’s a highly strung up dog, who has come through Monday good and he has enjoyed a quiet week. I feel he has to begin well (from trap six) and hopefully take an early sit say in around third possie,” advised the trainer’s partner Paul Freeman.

Cambridge trainer Peter Ferguson mentored the fourth place getter in last year’s Silver Collar final. He is returning with Tullabung Googar ($41) to contest this final. He was real bold when having his first look at 779m racing where he basically raced in third place for the majority of the trip, prior to finishing fourth behind Ring The Bell.

His trainer rightfully points out that Tullabung Googar races generously on the Manukau circuit. “He likes it up there in Auckland. He’s a big strong dog, who can take a knock. We have been quietly preparing him for the Silver Collar for a while and it’s very satisfying to get him into the final. He has come through his heat in great style,” said Ferguson.


Translator Pirate's Curse Trip To Eden Argus Fitch Tullabung Googar

Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar finalists (from left): Translator; Pirate’s Curse; Trip To Eden; Argus Filch; Tullabung Googar

The second occupant of the reserves bench is the Sean Codlin prepared Vince Fawn ($41). He set up the initial pace in his heat from where he whacked away solidly from when delivering his brave fifth place finish which was also his first attempt over an extreme race distance.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 8/06/2018 5:11:26 PM

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