Top Field Off Stayers To Contest Nancy’s Race

Nancy Cobain would have been smiling after the three very competitive races the stayers delivered during the 660m heats held last Monday for the $16,000 Group 2 event that is raced annually in her memory. Nancy herself was a renowned conditioner of the staying greyhounds and she was regarded as the Queen of the Duke OF Edinburgh Silver Collar, having mentored the winners of five editions of the great race.

Pictured: Gem, who is pictured here with her owner and breeder Mark Lin following her Nancy Cobain heat win – pic Sue, Palmerston North GRC   


Canterbury trainers Dave and Jean Fahey qualified four finalists, while the locally Foxton based Angela Turnwald kennels provides three contenders, plus the first reserve. The drawn field is completed by a stayer representing another local kennel with Lisa Cole.


The pertinent point involving all three trainers is that they all have trained previous Nancy Cobain winners. Turnwald mentored the 2009 inaugural winner Bonnie Bouchea when the race was a Group 1 event, contested over 766m. The Fahey’s then conditioned the 2010 winner Dangle The Carat also over 766m when holding Group 1 status.


The race was at today’s Group 2 level when the Fahey’s produced Jinja Power to take out the 2013 version over 766m. Lisa Cole (Ahern) trained her first Nancy Cobain winner the following year when Graduation prevailed over the current 660m trip. The Fahey’s struck again in 2017 with Runway Bono and Lisa Cole’s second winner was delivered last year with Don’t Knocka Gee.



The three kennels involved in Monday’s Nancy Cobain final have all previously trained winners of the race (from left); Bonnie Bouchea seen here with handler Courtney Turnwald, while Paul Freeman looks on in the background; Co-trainer Jean Fahey with the 2010 winner Dangle The Carat, while Brendon Cole is seen here with the 2014 winner Graduation


Mighty Muscle ($3 – TAB Final Field) certainly lived up to his name when he powered home to clock his 38.26s heat win and in doing so he removed Opawa June’s name from the Palmerston North clubs 660m track record book. The first three finishers in this heat all went under the previous 660m record. “He has really strengthened up lately and we expect another strong race from him. He’s our leading chance,” confirmed Dave Fahey about their charge who has drawn nicely in the two trap here.


Gem ($5.50) also produced a power-packed finish when she got up late to snatch her 38.49s heat win. She will look to ease down onto the rail after she hops away from the four trap where again she can be expected to unleash a strong finish. “She a very determined greyhound who will keep up a strong gallop here,” said Fahey.


Tradition ($8) stamped his authority over his rivals when he out finished them to secure his 38.53s heat win. He is required to exit from the tricky five trap here which is a trap where he has previously featured from. “He has a strong finish and he has also got stronger over the longer distances,” stated Fahey.


Max Dancer ($12) completes the Fahey prepared contenders here after she pressed on stoutly for her 1.75 length heat third behind kennel mate Mighty Muscle. She delivered that sound effort from the eight trap and she will be sighted wearing the pink racing vest again in this decider. “She went great in her heat and she could be alright from her draw,” confirmed Fahey, who added, “All of our runners came through their heats in great shape.” It is also worth noting that all four of the Fahey finalists were making their Manawatu Raceway track debuts, therefore there’s scope for further improvement in all of them.



The remaining three Dave and Jean Fahey trained Nancy Cobain finalists (from left): Tradition, Mighty Muscle; Max Dancer - pics Sue, Palmerston North GRC   


Hot Platter ($5) secures the draw advantage via her kind trap one draw for Turnwald. She is likely to contest the early pace and if doing so she’ll defy the others to run her down. She contested her heat from the same draw and it took until the final bound before Gem nailed her by a nose margin. She led home Might Muscle by a 2.25 length margin in their prior Hatrick 645m clash.


Kennelmate Emgrand Park ($5) is a proven effective stayer, however, his race is likely to be decided by the rush into the first turn after he jumps away from trap seven. He must set up the pace as he did in his heat where he only yielded late when he was caught by three-quarters of a length by Mighty Muscle. Don’t overlook the fact that he led home Mighty Muscle in his two November Addington 645m races. He then went onto to finish fourth in the recent $46,000 Spion Rose Cup 520m final.


Kamada Park ($16) gamely stuck to his heat task when he chased home Tradition a length behind him. He is likely to be required to negotiate early traffic when he makes his race start from the six trap here. Opawa June ($16) went into her heat holding the Manawatu 660m track record (38.41s) and that clock underlines that her post-race podium claim cannot be lightly dismissed if she gains a race start from the reserves bench here. Paul Freeman advised that all off his partners' finalists came through their heat assignments well.


Brendon Cole sounds an ominous warning to the others about the prospects held by Djay Dynamix ($14), who is a litter brother to last year’s Nancy Cobain winner Don’t Knocka Gee. He contested the pace in his heat, where he peaked on his gallop during the run home when finishing a 1.75 length heat third to Tradition.


“Djay will be a big improver after his heat as he had a limited preparation going into it. That’s the reason why he sat down towards the finish (heat). Don’t worry about that – he’s a better dog this week,” advised Cole about the kennel rep who will be sighted wearing the white racing vest here. He also added that Don’t Knocka Gee has returned to New South Wales to be bred from.



The three Angela Turnwald trained Nancy Cobain finalists following their heat placings (from left): Hot Platter; Emgrand Park; Kamada Park, along with the Lisa Cole prepared Djay Dynamix - pics Sue, Palmerston North GRC   


The second reserve Thrilling Nina ($7) was solid for her conditioner Karen Walsh when she made her staying debut in her heat. She kicked on stoutly for her 1.75 length heat fourth to Tradition – she only missed making the final field by a nose margin. Keep an eye on her during her immediate staying assignments.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 20 December 2019

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