New Zealand Nationals Contenders Primed To Go

A trip from Addington to Cannington looms for two greyhounds following the running of the $50,000 NZ Nationals Middle Distance (520m) and NZ Nationals Distance (732m) finals which will be decided in the Garden City this Thursday evening.


New Zealand greyhound racing will be represented for the first time in the annual Australian Nationals series, in what is a huge breakthrough of the code here. The Nationals is an inter State and now trans-Tasman event which sees six Australian states being represented in the two A$75,000 to the winner Group 1 finals which will be contested in Perth over the 520m and 715m trips on August 24.


It will be a frenzied period of greyhound racing between 7.24pm and 11.52pm (NZT) with seven middle distance and seven distance races being contested on seven greyhound tracks throughout Australasia. The winners of those 14 races will advance to the finals in Perth.


The eighth final field position for both races will be awarded to the highest rated Australian greyhound over both race distances who contested State finals, but missed qualifying for the finals.            


NZ Nationals Middle Distance Final – race 9, 7.24pm


Qualifying heats, followed by Addington and Hatrick semi-finals sorted out the final field who will contest the $50,000 NZ Nationals Middle Distance final over 520m at the Addington Raceway. Here’s a look at the field.


Local conditioner Craig Roberts holds a vice like grip on both of the NZ finals with his Dyna greyhounds. Dyna Dave ($1.65 & $1.15 – TAB Final field) will jump away from the six trap as a very warm favourite to book his trip to Perth. He is in sublime current form as seen by his recent low flying Addington 520m wins. It would appear only bad racing luck will deny the 29.70s winner of the $60,000 Amazing Chase a win in this event.


The concern for the winner of $168,872 and his trainer is potentially his six trap draw and what type of early racing passage he receives when heading into the all-important first turn. He has been jumping more consistently lately and if he does so here then this owner of a sharp 29.67s best winning 520m time can be positioned to use his known pace and strength when racing down the back straight. Dyna Dave posted his 29.67s time when he destroyed his NZ Nationals Middle Distance semi-final opponents by a comfortable 8.5 length margin.


Roberts has a back-up contender here with Sailor Allen ($11 & $2.70) who will hop away from trap seven. This bloke owns early pace and it is that asset that this holder of a best 30.07s Addington 520m time also must use. He was the greyhound who led home the vain chase behind Dyna Dave in his semi. Since then he has contested two 520m races here for a traffic impeded distant second, which was followed up by an 8.5 length 520m fourth placing last week.


Bahama Queen ($13 & $3.10) is a known on the pace chaser prepared by Jason Dunn who finished up 13.25 lengths astern of Dyna Dave in her semi. Possibly she holds the key to the outcome of this event as she owns sufficient early pace to land onto the early pace from her five trap draw here. Her recent assignments has seen her delivering 520m third and fifth placings.


Gary Cleeve will load away his charge Know Refusal ($14 & $3.30) into trap four on Thursday. He booked his place in this field via his 13.75 length semi fourth placing. Since then he won a C4/5 520m event here in 30.65s while graded as a C4 assessed chaser. He then finished a neck 520m second (won in 30.07s) when running out his C4 nominations. In doing so he recorded a personal best 520m time here. This bloke isn’t exactly to quickest greyhound to leave the traps.


The North Island contenders was established following their July 19 Hatrick Raceway hosted 520m semi. It was Bigtime Rod ($12 & $3) who prevailed there when he produced his pace making 30.16s win for his trainer Lisa Cole. Apart from making his Addington track debut here, the other concern for him in this event is his eight trap draw. He wasn’t able to cross from his trap 7 and 8 draws in his Hatrick 520m races since then.


On the other paw his dual Group 1 winning kennelmate Trojan Hoarse ($15 & $3.40) has been treated kindly by being allocated the ace trap to exit from on Thursday. This fella owns slick early pace and he can make things really interesting by using that asset during the charge into the first turn. Adding to the unknown factor about him is his first look at the Christchurch headquarters track here. He arrives south on the back of his 5.25 semi third which he has followed up with the same placings in open class 457m and 520m races.


Conversely the Angela Turnwald trained Nature’s Gent ($4.50 & $1.60) relishes racing around the Addington circuit. His victory in the 2017 edition of the New Zealand Cup and more recently his South Island Champs win at the venue confirms that. The prospect for this multiple Group race winner was further enhanced when this noted railing chaser secured trap two to hop away from even though surprisingly he hasn’t won from that trap. He contested the Amazing Chase here last month where he finished fifth overall after winning his match race in 30.16s. This winner of $195,494 in stakes booked his place here via his three length second to Bigtime Rod.


Waitohi ($18 & $3.70) is a kennelmate to Nature’s Gent who has been unplaced in both of her previous Addington 520m outings. She whacked away in her Hatrick semi when finishing 5.75 lengths back from Bigtime Rod. She isn’t known for her early pace which is a concern for her here.      


Occupying the first possie on the reserves bench is the John McInerney prepared Must Be Rusty ($18 & $3.70) following his fifth placing in his Addington semi. Since then he went onto finish solidly for his Ascot Park 457m third in the Far South Challenge at Group 2 level. He then suffered from a traffic hindered Forbury Park 545m Tuesday outing.


Foxton trainers Gary and Sandra Fredrickson provides the second reserve with Gazza’s Girl ($23 & $4) after obviously she finished fifth in the Hatrick semi. Last season’s NZ Oaks finalist (fifth) at this venue has since downgraded back to C4 and she delivered a Monday Manawatu five length third in that class behind the Amazing Chase third place finisher She’s For Us.



NZ Nationals Middle Distance final contenders includes (from left): Dyna Dave; Trojan Hoarse; Nature’s Gent  


NZ Nationals Distance Final – race 10, 7.43pm


Again it is local conditioner Craig Roberts who holds the key amongst the stayers with his outstanding stayer Dyna Weslyn ($1.35 & $1.06 – TAB Final Field). This winner of $142,993 in stakes has been absolutely flying lately as was evidenced by her freewheeling 43.03s 732m semi win at this venue. Possibly the concern for this dual Group 1 winning stayer is her seven trap draw here. The current Addington 732m 42.65s track record holder is smart enough to overcome that to at least slip around the outer from where she can cut out her known sharp sectionals.


The Dave and Jean Fahey prepared Opawa Hillary ($5 & $1.38) has really come of age as a stayer lately. She was real bold when after setting the initial pace, she kicked on stoutly for her 3.75 length semi second to Dyna Weslyn. Since then she delivered a bold pace making 43.07s 732m win here, which she then backed up with her strong on the pace 37.73s 645m win here last Thursday. Prior to that she finished a 5.75 length second to Dyna Weslyn in the Group 1 NZ Stayers’ Cup over 732m here. She won’t object about being required to jump away from trap two here.


Her kennelmate Von Strass ($6.50 & $1.55) is also developing into a promising stayer. She plugged on soundly for her 5.25 length semi third placing from where she then gamely chased after Opawa Hilary to eventually finish a 2.7 length third to her in her follow up 732m. From there it more of the same when she chased home Opawa Hilary for her length 645m second last week. She will be sighted wearing the blue racing vest on Thursday.


It was Goldstar Sydney ($26 & $3.60) who booked the final berth from the Addington semi when she delivered her ten length fourth behind Dyna Weslyn for her trainers Steve and Bonnie Evans. She also occupied the same placing in the recent 732m event won by race rival here Opawa Hilary. This girl has been allocated the five trap for this decider.


The Hatrick hosted NZ Nationals Distance semi-final was an absolute humdinger of a 755m race. Just a pair of heads separated the first three place getters in the July 19 event. Wanganui trainer Mark Goodier is currently having a whale of a time with his stayer Bigtime Chloe ($31 & $4). He was ecstatic after he prepared his charge to win a heat of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar (779m) and he will be just as rapt to qualify Bigtime Chloe for this final.


Bigtime Chloe set up the early pace in her semi, then stalked the pacemaker from where she outstayed her rivals to snatch her 45.31s semi win. Since then she ran a solid 520m C2/3 520m fourth which was followed up by her sound Manawatu 660m second. She adds interest for her Thursday Addington track debut outing from trap eight.


Shooters Hill ($16 & $2.70) drifted a long way off the pace in this semi for his conditioner Sam Lozell. He wound up massively from his tailed off position to fairly rocket home when finishing just a head behind Bigtime Chloe. That is the racing style that this huge stayer adopts – we saw that when he charged home late when he pushed Dyna Weslyn to a head margin in the Silver Collar final. He then finished fifth in the NZ Stayers’ Cup that was so stylishly won by Dyna Weslyn. He will be sighted wearing the green racing vest here.


The Matt Roberts prepared Cawbourne Taylor ($26 & $3.70) has tasted Group 1 staying success as she is the current Wanganui Distance (755m) title holder. It was her who set up the midrace pace in the Hatrick semi and she gallantly kicked on when ultimately finishing a pair of heads behind Bigtime Chloe. She then raced in the midfield in the 732m staying race recently won by Opawa Hilary. She will exit from trap three here.


Drawing the ace trap is the up and coming stayer Race Me Home ($71 & $5.70) who is prepared in Palmerston North by Billy Hodgson. She finished a fair margin behind Bigtime Chloe in her semi, while her sole staying win came over the Hatrick 645m distance. This daughter of a Group race staying winner (Buddy Broke) has also placed over 645m, while she holds placings over the Palmerston North 660m distance. Her kennelmate Flash Barry is the first reserve, however he is unlikely to travel south as he holds a Hatrick Wednesday C1 520m engagement.                 


The second reserve is the Robin Wales prepared Opawa Hope ($81 & $5.75) whose five races over the 732m trip has yet to yield her with a podium finishing possie. Her only staying win was over 645m back in December 2016.  




NZ Nationals Distance final contenders includes (from left): Dyna Weslyn; Bigtime Chloe; Opawa Hilary


Pawnote: Mike Floyd, the Racing and Media manager for the Sandown Park GRC, advises that the winner of the NZ Nationals Middle Distance final at Addington will receive an exemption and can be drawn directly into the heats for this year’s Melbourne Cup (final November 29). It is the same exemption that the winner of the October 6 running of the Waterloo Cup at the Manukau Stadium receives. The $630,000 TAB Melbourne Cup is the world’s richest greyhound race.    


By Peter Fenemor



Posted on 7/08/2019 4:42:17 PM

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