Cambridge Group Race Finalists Decided

Torrential rain – nah, make that monsoon-like downpours, hit the Cambridge Raceway during the running of the $46,000 Mike Stent Decorators New Zealand Derby 457m heat meeting on Thursday evening. Absolute full credit goes out to all greyhound handlers, track staff and TV camera operators involved who copped the worst of the severe conditions. The greyhounds who raced in the atrocious weather conditions were super gallant!

Pictured: Robson maintained his current hot form by clocking the quickest of the 457m NZ Derby heat times

The quality of racing delivered throughout the evening was simply first class during a meeting that saw heats for three Group race finals which will be decided next Thursday evening. Here’s a look back at those hotly (and wet) contested heats.

Mike Stent Decorators New Zealand Derby heats

Heat 1: The Lisa Cole prepared Trojan Hoarse has consistently displayed early pace and he was rewarded for using that healthy tactic when, after clearing some early jostling which affected the overall race time, he led his rivals all the way to record 26.19s for his gallop.

Opawa Viking let down solidly during the run home for his second placing 3.25 lengths behind for his conditioners Dave and Jean Fahey. His time finished up being the ninth equal overall time, which saw him being allocated the second reserve position for the final after he came off second best in a ballot for the reserve bench positions.

Heat 2: The recent $28,000 City Of Palmerston North Golden Chase 457m winner Robson is really flying at the moment. The Peter Ferguson trained greyhound maintained his solid form when he slipped through his NZ Derby heat assignment in a quick 25.51s. He pinged away from the eight trap to deliver his victory which turned into the quickest clock from the five heats.

Bigtime Rod gamely chased after the pacemaker and he was rewarded with his NZ Derby final field position when he arrived home 8.25 lengths further behind the freewheeling winner for Cole.

Heat 3: This heat is best described as the “monsoon” heat! The skies really opened up as the field left for the walk to the traps. The best illustration on how torrential the rain was is too checked out the head on vision in the video race replay of race 8 on this website.

It was the gold racing vest worn by Bigtime Pete that was sighted bounding straight into the race lead. It was a race lead that this Cole mentored chaser was never going to hand up as he splashed his way through the slush to secure his 26.01s heat win.

Thrilling Vice started as the warm favourite for his trainer Karen Walsh. He settled in fourth place after stepping away from the two trap. He ranged up into a potential qualifying position on the big, sweeping bend from where he extended during the run home to claim his NZ Derby final field possie when finishing 2.25 lengths behind the pacemaker.

Heat 4: The rain had “eased” a tad, but was still falling steadily when this heat was dispatched from the 457m traps. Thrilling Talk had rightfully dominated pre NZ Derby discussions for Walsh. He jumped away as the $1.40 tote favourite and he never gave his army of supporters any concern whatsoever as he cruised through his heat assignment, striding clear to claim the heat by a comfortable 7.75 lengths, clocking 25.92s.

It was closer paw wrestle for the runner up possie and that placing went to the Cole prepared Cheese And Chalk who kicked on the best of the rest to nail that placing. He was the other equal ninth place finisher and he came out on top of the ballot to take up the first reserve position.

Heat 5: The rain had eased to showers when the final NZ Derby heat went to the 457m traps much to the relief of a number of drenched handlers. This was a keenly contested heat which ultimately saw Mr. Matt prevailing for the Fahey’s. It was a torridly contested affair with the field bunching when heading into the turn.

Mr. Matt seized a rails racing passage and that enabled him to punch clear and gallop away for his 25.98s heat win. The dual Group 1 Angela Turnwald trained winner Diddilee had plenty of work to do when he turned in for the run home. He dug in real deep when he extended which saw him snatching his final field position when winding up a 1.5 length second.

*Pawnote: Due to the wet weather, photographs were too difficult to capture for this meeting.

Teressa McDonald Memorial Cup heats

Firstly it was fantastic to see the Waikato GRC being able to card two heats for this Group 2 feature over the extreme 747m distance. It’s going to be a cracker of final where the Roberts family aka dad Craig and son Matt qualified five finalists. They will be taking on last year’s winner Dusty Gambler from the Karen Walsh kennels. Here’s a review from the pair of heats.

Heat 1: The classy Craig Roberts mentored stayer Dyna Weslyn was loaded away into trap eight as the raging hot $1.40 favourite. She came out running and basically turned this heat into a procession. She cruised home for her effortless 42.71s heat win, scoring by a 7.25 length margin.

Cawbourne Zulu hopped away handy to the early pace, then she was joined in the chase after the pacemaker by Dusty Gambler. It was Dusty Gambler who then kicked clear and he’ll return to defend his Group 2 title after he put a 10.75 length buffer on Cawbourne Zulu (Matt Roberts) who stuck on gamely for her third placing.

Having her taste of racing over the extreme race distance was Bigtime Chloe for Wanganui trainer Mark Goodier. She was real gallant when she stuck on to claim fourth just on another three quarters of a length behind. The Sam Lozell prepared Shooters Hill was the next to arrive and he becomes the second reserve for the final.

Roberts’ senior was back at it again in the second heat with his talented chaser Dyna Dave. He was also checking out the extreme journey for the first time. Again it was a totally professional race that he turned in, when after an early paw wrestle with his kennelmate Avenger Bale, Dave booted clear to claim his heat win by a comfortable eight length margin, posting 42.97s.

Cawbourne Taylor stylishly displayed her staying attributes when she maintained a strong gallop to secure the runner up possie for Matt Roberts. In doing so she pushed Avenger Bale back to third by a 1.5 length margin. Delivering the race of her career was Hau Hau for her new trainer Raewyn McPhee. She was sighted dashing home late to claim her Group 2 field position another four lengths behind. Next to finish was Know Anxiety and the Gary Cleeve trained stayer is the first reserve for the final.

Dyna Weslyn Dyna Dave
Canterbury trainer Craig Roberts mentored both of the Teressa McDonald Memorial Cup heat winners with Dyna Weslyn (left) and Dyna Dave

Lois Henley Memorial Final

A pair of 457m heats for the girls shaped up the final field for next week’s Group 2 decider. Returning to defend the tile she won in this feature last year will be Bigtime Blackie for her conditioner Lisa Cole. Her kennelmates Bigtime Mia (third) and No Time Toulouse (seventh) also contested this final last year and they will be returning next Thursday to have another crack at this event. Here’s a look back at the two heats.

Heat 1: It was the fresh up Lisa Cole trained Bigtime Lily who bounded into the race lead. She was stalked around the turn by Thrilling Carly for Karen Walsh. This pair settled into a classic battle which ultimately saw Thrilling Carly holding the upper paw when they reached judge Tommy Thompson who then declared Thrilling Carly the winner by a half length margin after 25.90s of chasing.

Bigtime Blackie headed the balance of the field home when she kicked on solidly for her third placing a further 3.25 lengths astern. Flying home late another 2.5 lengths back to book her final field position was Waitohi for Angela Turnwald. Occupying the second possie on the reserves bench for Cole will be the fifth place Bigtime Acacia.

Local conditioner Peter Ferguson is enjoying a really current run of hot form with his team. That run continued in the second heat where he unleashed the former Aussie chaser Keysile for her NZ debut outing. She hopped away smartly from the eight trap and she was never headed when she scampered through her 457m heat assignment in a handy 25.80s.

Leading the chase after her was Bigtime Mia for Cole and she arrived home two lengths behind, while holding a length advantage over the Walsh trained Thrilling Jo. No Time Toulouse ensured Cole of having another finalist when she wound up another 2.5 lengths further back in fourth place. Talkabout Missy became the first reserve after her fifth placing for Walsh.

*Pawnote: The box draw for the three Group race finals have been completed – check them out on this website.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 12/04/2019 3:14:58 PM

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