Youngsters Combine To Stylishly Win NZ St Leger

“Dan always listens and that’s the biggest learning curve you can take on board,” commented GRNZ Hall of Fame member Ray Adcock following the outstanding win that Ozzie claimed in Thursday’s running of the $30,000 Active Electrical Christchurch New Zealand St Leger at Group 1 level.

Pictured: Ozzie delivering his strong NZ St Leger victory – pic Dave Robbie

 

Dan is the 21-year-old greyhound trainer Daniel Lane who on Thursday mentored his first Group 1 winner.

 

He boxed away his finalist Ozzie into the Addington 520m trap three. When the traps lifted it was Ozzie’s white racing vest that was the first sighted and he led his restricted age opponents into the first turn. It was a race lead that Ozzie was never going to relinquish as he freewheeled his way through to his biggest career win cutting out his 520m assignment in a tidy 30.01s.

 

There were just two Australian bred chasers who qualified for the Group 1 final. Uthor Bale and Xabil Bale are littermates prepared from the Craig Roberts kennels. They started the race as the top two tote favourites and it was the known strong finishing Uthor Bale who boldly chased after the pacemaker, pursued by his sister with this trio of greyhounds gapping the balance of the field.

 

Momentarily it looked as if Uthor Bale was going to cut back Ozzie, however, he couldn’t quite close the gap with Ozzie holding a half-length winning margin at the judge. Xabil Bale kicked on solidly for her third placing a further five lengths behind while holding a comfortable 8.75 length margin over the fourth-placed Dave and Jean prepared Punters A Hero.

 

“I thought Uthor Bale was handily enough placed on the home turn to pick up Ozzie during the run home, however, the pacemaker was too strong for us. I’m happy with the placings from my two runners,” commented Roberts.

 
  

The New Zealand St Leger winner Ozzie with his trophy along with (from left): Donald & Jose Arthur, Ray Adcock, Daniel Lane and Jordan Bryce; runner up Uthor Bale and his third-placed litter sister Xabil Bale

 

Daniel Lane has made a huge impression since he joined the trainers ranks. Yes, he couldn’t have a better mentor in Ray Adcock, but with that said he still has to do the hard yards to obtain his successes. He has done an admirable job as seen by the outstanding current strike rate he is quickly building.

 

Ozzie is raced by Lane and Jose Arthur while her husband Donald is actively involved in behind the scenes. The Ray Adcock influence is there, while the teamwork is complimented by the hardworking youngster Jordan Bryce who is fully hands-on in the kennels.  

 

“It was the best Ozzie has ever started (jumped). I knew he had the ability to feature if he could get onto the early pace. He showed plenty of guts to hold on as I thought he was going to get run down. Ozzie has got stronger and he has improved heaps lately,” confirmed Lane.

 

“This win is more for the Arthur’s than me – they have given me the opportunity of taking over training their greyhounds which I very much appreciate. I’m privileged to have Ray teaching me and passing on his valued knowledge and experience. It’s a team effort at home with Ray, Donald, Jose and Jordan and we all get along together really good,” added Lane.

 

A large amount of the outstanding success the Lane kennels is currently enjoying is from progeny whelped by the proven producer Mini’s Fantasy who Adcock sourced from Australia. “She has terrific breeding, being out of a strong line bred by the Bartolo’s that features a Melbourne Cup winner and I brought her with the view of breeding on from her. I conned the Arthur’s into taking her and now they’re reaping the rewards,” chuckled Adcock.

 

It was around the time where a daughter of the Arthur’s, Britany worked at the Adcock kennels back in 2012 when the hugely successful partnership was formed as Donald, who was racing thoroughbreds at the time, recaps. “I went to pick up Britany one day, looked at the greyhounds and said to Ray ‘I wouldn’t mind racing a dog’. Ray said back to me ‘I don’t train dogs for just anyone (tongue in cheek)’

 

“Ray introduced us to Mini’s Fantasy and after she retired from racing Ray said you have to breed from her. I said I don’t know-how and he told me to take Mini’s Fantasy to Rosemary (Blackburn) and we put her to Business Time first up. We converted our stables into kennels and three months after getting puppies they were digging up the garden, so I asked Ray to help us out.”  Amongst the litter were greyhounds that included the handy chasers Tee Time, Mickey Tee and Jemima Tee.

 

A second mating for Mini’s Fantasy, this time to Fabregas, left quality greyhounds like the Group race winners Tom Tee and Rosa Tee, while a repeat mating produced Ozzie, Seve, Tucker, Sonja amongst others. Tee Time has also been active in the breeding kennels with a litter she whelped sired by Fabregas includes the very talented greyhound Bolty, while Jemima Tee has produced progeny like the promising youngster Oakmont from her mating with Fernando Bale.

 

  

Tom Tee following his 2017 Barron’s Supplies South Island Champs win; Rosa Tee after her 2018 Railway Sprint win; the exciting Bolty, whose next assignment is this year’s edition of the Railway Sprint 

 

So, what’s with the golf theme racing names? Jose informs us. “Donald is a very keen golfer hence the Tee name we’ve used.” That naming theme is ongoing as Ozzie is named after the top former Australian golfer Greg Norman -   he was known around the golfing tours as Ozzie!

 

“It is especially nice what Ray does teaching Daniel and Jordan, particularly with Ray taking more backward steps with hands-on training these days. His advice to us has been a huge reason why we are enjoying our current success. Live is for living and results like tonight’s is a huge thrill for us” added Jose.

 

It’s a team combination that likely to continue for a very long time which is something Ray Adcock is looking forward to. “I value loyalty to the kennel and that’s the biggest thing that Donald and Jose offer me, along with others like John Betts and Faye Lockhart.

 

Lane confirms that the long term target for Ozzie is likely to be the New Zealand Debry. Along the way, he will seek to go up the grades, as he’s currently C3 graded, although he will contest another penalty-free event as he’s lining up in the heats for this Tuesday’s NZRS Graduation series over 545m at Forbury Park (race 7).

 

You can expect the six wins and two minor placings from his 11 career races, with $23,844 in current stake earnings to quickly expand and along with that, the additional Breeders’ bonus payments like the $1,000 he also won for being the first Kiwi bred greyhound to finish in the Group 1 NZ St Leger.

 

Lane also advises that he is rapt with the way that Bolty is preparing for his next big assignment which will be in the heats for the Group 1 Railway Sprint 318m heats at the Manukau Stadium later this month. That’s looming as another mouth-watering clash with the boom northern sprinter Buddy Boom. “After the Railway, we will aim Bolty towards the Golden Chase qualifying,” he confirmed.

 

As mentioned above Daniel Lane is charging along at the top of this season’s Trainer’s Strike Rate table. Another three Addington winners on Friday saw him finishing the week with his strike rate sitting at a tidy UDR figure of 0.5476, the result of 56 winners and 41 minor placings from the 139 starters he has so far lined up this season.

 

The perennial strike rate trainer Karen Walsh certainly isn’t giving up her title in a hurry as seen by the brilliant training success she enjoyed on her home Cambridge track last week which included lining up five greyhounds for five wins during the Sunday meeting. Those wins have propelled Walsh up to a URD rating of 0.5051 having now mentored 84 winners and 67 minor place getters from the 229 race starters she has loaded away into the traps.

 

  

It’s an interesting battle developing for the 2019/20 NZ Trainers’ Strike Rate with Daniel Lane’s steady stream of winners being aided like the wins delivered by Sonja and Oakmont at Addington on Friday (pics Dave Robbie), while Thrilling Murphy (gold) and Thrilling Morris were Sunday winners for Karen Walsh, pictured here after running a January Cambridge quinella  

 

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 11 February 2020

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