“Thrilling” Cambridge New Year Meeting

The Cambridge Raceway totally belonged to the Tirau trainer Karen Walsh and the “Thrilling” kennels operated by Gary and Linda Harding last Friday. Together they won six of the Waikato GRC hosted races on the twelve race card. Included was their emphatic victory in the $21,000 Farmlands CopRice Waikato Classic where they provided the Group 2 quinella.

Pictured: Thrilling Trev who was one of Karen Walsh’s six Cambridge trained Friday winners, seen here after his Mighty Waikato Maiden Series victory

The amazing winning streak started in the second race where Walsh produced the fresh up Talkabout Missy to win her C3 457m assignment in 26s flat.

The first of the feature finals victories then followed for Walsh. Thrilling Trev came away smartly from the one trap to lead his $6,000 Mighty Waikato Maiden Series rivals all the way when claiming his 26.11s 457m win in the nation’s richest Maiden race by a two length margin. Thrilling Trev weighs in at a hefty 38 kilos and he used his strength and size to telling effect to secure his first career win.

Hayley Mullane provided the runner up when the 26.14s heat winner O’Neill Monelli boldly chased home the pacemaker. Tradition, from the Canterbury based Dave and Jean Fahey kennels, completely bombed the race start from the two trap. It was massive effort by this bloke to get up for his third placing just a further three quarters of a length behind when he was sighted putting a huge late bounds.

The win by Thrilling Trev had a touch of history attached to it as it was back in 2011 when Thrilling Brat delivered his remarkable victory in this same final when he came from a hopeless wide rear group position on the turn to nail his potent 25.94s win which launched his outstanding race career. Thrilling Trev’s mum is Thrilling Quest who is a litter sister to Thrilling Brat. She was also a potent force on the race track as seen by Thrilling Quest still being the Manukau 779m track record holder (46.08s) which was also set in 2011.

Thrilling Trev O'Neill Monelli Tradition
Mighty Waikato Maiden Series winner Thrilling Trev with handler Taylor Thornton and Linda Harding; second placed O’Neill Monelli & third placed Tradition

Reality Check became the third Walsh mentored winner at the meeting when she gained a race start from off the reserves bench and slotted away into the five trap. She won the break from there to lead throughout when clocking 21.43s when delivering her 6.75 length win in her C3/4 375m sprint.

The $6,000 Denis Cole Memorial Waikato Sprint is always the feature sprint on the Waikato New Year race card. The race remembers the long term club member and worker Denis Cole. It is also a sprint that over recent years has been completely dominated by sprinters prepared by Walsh with the last three winners coming from her kennels.

It was no different in Friday’s edition with the warm $1.80 favourite Sparta spearing away from her rivals to deliver her effortless 21.05s 375m victory by a convincing 6.25 length margin. It sure was race on for the minor sides of the podium which saw the Ben Craik trained consistent sprinter Just One Smile clinging onto the runners up prize by a half head margin over the fast finishing Bigtime Emjay from the Gary and Sandra Fredrickson Foxton based kennels.

Sparta Just One Smile Bigtime Emjay
Denis Cole Memorial Waikato Sprint winner Sparta with trainer Karen Walsh flanked by Ella Cole, who represented the Cole family in the race named after her uncle and Waikato committee member Jen Bartlett; the runner up Just One Smile and third placed Bigtime Emjay

Thrilling Talk started as the red hot favourite $1.60 in the feature $21,000 Farmlands CopRice Waikato Classic. He never gave his army of supporters any cause for concern whatsoever when he cruised to his powerful 25.42s Group 2 victory (refer to the separate article for the race review).

Training success number six for Walsh came in the final race C1/2 457m event where Thrilling Carly (who was the first reserve for the Waikato Classic) prevailed when she gamely clung on for her 26.13s 457m win. The six Karen Walsh mentored winners is the reason why she is frequently referred to as the punters best friend as she continues to dominate the nation’s Trainers’ Strike Rate table.

Thrilling Brat NZRS Distance final

The finish to the $12,000 Thrilling Brat NZRS Distance final over the demanding 747m journey turned out to be an absolute thriller in what commentator Peter Earley labelled as a very busy finish. It was the Glennis Farrell prepared kennelmates Go Angel and Amy Amy who controlled the initial pace. This pair raced paw to paw down the back straight until Amy Amy eased clear when rounding the final turn and this Opawa Racing bred and owned daughter of Bekim Bale and Opawa Amy looked set to claim her biggest career win.

The hot $1.40 race favourite Translator was back in the midfield and wasn’t appearing to make up ground when heading towards the final turn. That quickly changed as the Dave and Jean Fahey prepared stayer quickly improved her field position when rounding that big, sweeping final bend.

She hugged the rail when she commenced the slog up the long home straight with Amy Amy firmly in her sights. It wasn’t until the very final bound when Translator finally put her nose in front and after 43.85 seconds of hard out chasing this daughter of Bekim Bale and Delusionist ultimately prevailed by a half head margin. Perfect Result rallied late when this son of Barcia Bale and Andrea rushed into third just a half length behind for his trainer Ray Adcock.

Amy Amy was gallant, real gallant when only conceding the race win to her more hardened, proven staying rival in that last stride. It was an impressive first attempt by her over an extreme race distance and as Geoff Farrell correctly stated afterwards that they’re excited about her future staying assignments.

For Translator, it was her 22nd career win and after adding in a further 25 minor placings sees her career stake earnings now sitting at $81,188 (excluding Breeders’ bonus payments) from her 85 race day outings for her owing Lin Barry Wee Man syndicate. 16 of those wins has been in staying events, while this win maintains her current outstanding form having won her last four races on four different tracks over the 645m, 755, 732m and now 747m distances.

It was also her second NZRS Distance victory having also picked up the Wanganui hosted 755m version of this series in early December meaning that her breeder Mark Lin is enjoying deserved NZRS Breeders’ bonus payments.

Translator Amy Amy Perfect Result
Translator following her narrow Thrilling Brat NZRS Distance victory; Amy Amy was real brave in finishing second; Prefect Result charged late to secure the third placing

Farmlands Virkon Waikato Cup

It was a home town victory in the $10,000 Farmlands Virkon Waikato Cup when the Peter Ferguson locally prepared Rumble Soldier led his rivals all the way to secure his bold 25.78s feature race win after he jumped away from the two trap.

Lisa Cole provided both of the Christmas Eve 457m heat winners and it was her pair of greyhounds who filled the minor placings. Blazin’ Carter kicked on solidly when finishing a length behind, while Bigtime Levi was sighted doing his best work at the business end when winding up another 1.25 lengths back for his third placing.

The dual coded Ferguson told on course compere Tommy Thompson when accepting the Waikato Cup. “It’s fantastic to train the winner of your local cup.” He also acknowledged his long time involvement in the greyhound code saying he first got involved around 20 years when racing greyhounds from the Peter and Lois Henley kennels.

Ferguson, along with wife Wendy, has more recently successfully trained their own greyhounds initially in conjunction with the Sydney bound Greg Hore. He credited Hore with sourcing Rumble Soldier for his owing Ferguson, Makurch, Franzen syndicate. Rumble Solider has quickly made his mark since he crossed the Tasman with his Waikato Cup victory being his sixth (plus five seconds) from the 13 races he has contested on the Cambridge and Manukau tracks.

Rumble Soldier Blazin' Carter Bigtime Levi Greg Hore
Rumble Soldier with trainer Peter Ferguson and with his connections following his Waikato Cup victory; the kennelmates Blazin’ Carter and Bigtime Levi filled the Waikato Cup minor placings – Earlier during the meeting Pete Ferguson made a special presentation to the retiring Waikato GRC President Greg Hore who is relocating back across the Tasman

Pawnote: Gary Harding also bred the former Karen Walsh trained Thrilling Katie who won the race 4 open class 375m dash in 21.41s, after she hopped into the field from off the reserves bench. Thrilling Katie is now conditioned by Emma Potts from her Cleveden based kennels.

Talkabout Missey Reality Check Thrilling Carly
The Karen Walsh trained Cambridge Friday winners included (from left): Talkabout Missy; Reality Check and Thrilling Carly

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 7/01/2019 1:57:29 PM

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