Intriguing Spion Rose Group 1 Field

Back-to-back Group 1 titles loom for the Dave-and-Jean-Fahey-trained Bago Bye Bye who will exit from the Hatrick seven trap on Friday evening. Bago Bye Bye is the favourite in the $46,000 The Spion Rose in his attempt to emulate his recent victory in the $125,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup.

Pictured: Bago Bye Bye who will jump as the favourite for Friday’s The Spion Rose

It required remarkable athletic agility by Bago Bye Bye ($2.40 TAB Final field, option 996) just to qualify for this decider when he made his track debut appearance on the Wanganui based circuit in last Friday’s 520m heat. Going into the first turn he was checked by an inside runner and his race monetarily hung in the balance. Once he rebalanced, he set off after the freewheeling, pace making Idol Dude, easily gathering him in and slipping clear for his 2.5 length win, achieved in 30.27s.

“Yes, that was a bit scary on the first turn. I was a bit worried on how he would handle a new track, however it worked out all good for him. We are happy with him going into Friday, although his draw (trap seven) isn’t the best, however he could possibly get a drag into the first turn from Pinny Mack,” commented Dave Fahey.

Analyzing the way the rest of the field has drawn confirms what Fahey has suggested could very well become reality for his charge. Expected to spear forward from trap five is the Steve Clark prepared Pinny Mack ($3) and if he does so Bago Bye Bye could very well receive a nice drag into the first turn.

Pinny Mack was not only brave, but also strong in the manner he won his heat, even if it came in a more sedate 30.34s. He engaged in a pace making dual with Nature’s Gent, from the locally based Angela Turnwald kennels. Nature’s Gent is regarded as a strong chaser and he was racing in his preferred rails position, therefore it was gutsy effort by Pinny Mack to outstay him when he prevailed by a length margin.

“Rapt, really happy in the manner that Pinny out gunned Nature’s Gent. He had every reason to struggle late as I had given him an easy time after his New Zealand Cup (luckless) race. He would have taken great benefit from that race and he has come through that super,” advised Clark, who added, “I’m not worried about his draw.” And that comment is pertinent as Pinny Mack won the Group 1 Waterloo Cup from the five trap and it is from that trap he’ll hop away from on Friday.

Turnwald has qualified three finalists which aside from Nature’s Gent ($10) (third in last year’s edition) she will also line up the litter siblings Waitohi ($21) and Diddilee ($10), who both strongly filled minor heat placings. The trainers’ partner Paul Freeman updates us on their prospects.

“Nature’s Gent has drawn okay (three) and hopefully he takes up a forward early position. Actually he’s only ever jumped twice since he’s been over here and both of those were in Spion Rose heats. We feel he’ll be an improver from the heats where he didn’t kick on as strongly as he can. Hopefully he’ll finish off his race stronger on Friday and that is taking nothing away from Pinny Mack who is a very good greyhound.

“We expect Waitohi to finish strongly, however in saying that she can foot it with others early on. Maybe this is a race where it might pay to be a tad slow, so maybe she can slot down onto the rail (from trap two). She made up plenty of ground from the sprint boxes – her final sectional would have been huge,” said Freeman about the only female greyhound in the drawn field.

“Diddilee has really come of age lately. His trip to Christchurch really benefited him and he has gone from strength to strength. He can do it from on the pace or he can come from behind. I thought his heat run was a strong, gutsy effort. I feel he can get some of it,” advised Freeman who also confirmed, “All three of our runners are all set to go on Friday.”

Bago Bye Bye Pinny Mack Nature's Gent Waitohi Diddilee
The Spion Rose contenders includes (from top left): Bago Bye was handled by Ross Mathers for his heat assignment; trainer Steve Clark with his bold heat winner Pinny Mack (pics Wanganui (GRC); Angela Turnwald has qualified three finalists – Nature’s Gent; Waitohi; Diddilee

It was a father and son combination who provided the other pair of heat winners, while another son provides both reserves. Craig Roberts hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of recent racing luck, losing the immediate racing services of the talented greyhounds Dyna Elwyn and Dirk Bale. He’ll be looking to his pace making 30.26s heat winner Dyna Monty ($5) to change that luck around from the one trap.

“I was pleased with the way he delivered his heat win and if he stays close to the rail, then yes I expect a competitive race from him. He is strong and I reckon only Bago Bye Bye is the only other dog who could run him down if he’s up there racing on the pace. I’m happy with him going into the final,” suggested Roberts whose son Daniel will be lining up his first Group 1 finalist after Barge Bale produced the quickest of the heat times when clocking 30.22s.

It was a bold effort by Barge Bale ($21) as he was last when going into the first turn from where he displayed great track sense when improving his field position to finish strongly to nail his heat win. It was a heat win for a race that wasn’t even on Barge Bale’s initial racing agenda as Dan Roberts explains.

“I had nominated him for a Christchurch C5 520m race, hoping to get a soft C4/5 field for the Thursday (Nov 30), but they didn’t get an open class field. The Spion Rose noms were then reopened so I decide throw him a nomination for him with Bobby (Blackburn) to take him north with Dad’s dogs. It worked out brilliantly.”

“I was bloody ecstatic when he won his heat - very excited to have a finalist however he must do everything right from trap six. He had to make up a lot of ground and he got a nice passage when doing so and then he really powered home in his heat. He’s come through his heat as happy as and he’s all ready for the final,” said Roberts junior.

It is entirely understandable if the Marcie Flipp trained Idol Dude ($51) feels a tad intimidated in this decider as he’s the only Kiwi bred greyhound to make the final field cut after he had set up the pace prior to being run down by Bago Bye Bye. Drawing out in trap eight shouldn’t faze him (three placings from three races).

He is guaranteed to provide his owner and breeder Tom Rodewald with the $1,000 Breeders bonus which is paid to the first New Zealand bred greyhound to finish in a Group 1 event. “I’m still in shock from last week (qualifying). I couldn’t believe it when I saw him on the fence and in front around the first turn.

“Hey, I’m very proud of him being in the field and drawing out in trap eight is all good for him. He’s still learning about racing and I’m excited about his future,” confirmed Flipp who will also line up two contenders in the Dash For Cash final, including Idol Nifty who is a litter brother to Idol Dude.

Dyna Monty Barge Bale Idol Girl
The Spion Rose contenders includes (from left): Dyna Monty was handled by Bobby Blackburn for his heat win, while Kim Frazer brought back Barge Bale to the podium after his heat win (pics Wanganui GRC); Idol Dude is the only Kiwi bred Spion Rose finalist – here’s his mum Idol Girl

Matt Roberts has enjoyed plenty of Group race success at this venue over recent seasons. On this occasion he’s looking for unlikely scratchings as he provides both reserves for the final. Gray Bale ($26) is in current career best form and he was sighted doing his best work at the business of his heat when he finished strongly for his 1.75 length heat third to Pinny Mack.

Quistis Bale has contested previous Group 1 finals, which included her recent luckless New Zealand Cup final outing. She settled in behind the pace being set by his father’s greyhound Dyna Monty. She kicked on solidly for her 5.9 length heat third to him.

Pawnote: Craig Roberts also advised during in his Spion Rose interview that his smart stayer Dyna Weslyn will be returning home. She contested a The Meadows 725m event last Saturday evening which she won very impressively. “She can come home and have a bit of rest before racing back over here. I wanted to give her a race at The Meadows just to see how she went after her Sandown Park misses. I was rapt with her win and will look at sending her back over there for the February 725m Group staying races they have over there,” advised Roberts, who added, “At least she has winning 725m form (two wins) on the Meadows track.”

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 6/12/2018 2:32:17 PM

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