Auckland Cup Success For Dual Code Participant

Racing at the elite level is all about mistake-free racing. Silenci did everything right during Sunday’s running of the Auckland Cup and he was rewarded with victory in the $90,000 527m race at Group 1 level.

Pictured: Sunday’s Auckland Cup winner Silenci   


His trainer Peter Ferguson correctly said postrace, “Manners win races and Selinci showed that when he led out. You couldn’t have scripted that any better. When you’re in front they have to run you down – they couldn’t.”


“I was slightly worried when I saw Pinny Mack chasing Silenci, then I saw Robson being checked so I was hoping Silenci would kick on – he did that strongly. It was a great feeling when Silenci won, and it got even better with Robson recovering to finish third,” added Ferguson.


Silenci was allocated the one trap for the grand final. He effectively used it when he hopped straight into the race lead. It was a race lead that he was never going relinquish as he controlled the pace throughout to deliver his 30.58s win.


Pinny Mack had pushed up around the outer from the seven trap for his conditioner Steve Clark. He boldly stuck to his task for his 1.25 length second placing, which was a reversal of the placings between the pair from the previous Sunday’s heats.


The winners’ kennelmate Robson secured an early rail racing passage, then he was forced to overcome some jostling when heading into the final turn. Once balanced up he finished stoutly another two lengths behind for his third, therefore providing Peter and Wendy Ferguson with the Auckland Cup first and third placings.



Auckland GRC Chairman John Roberts presenting Wendy Ferguson with the Auckland Cup; Auckland Cup runner up Pinny Mack and third-placed Robson


There were enthusiastic scenes at the Auckland GRC podium as the race presentation was made. The Ferguson’s have made a concerted effort to involve numerous people involved in the racing industry from all codes in the ownership of their greyhounds.


This win was no different as attending the postrace celebrations were members of the owning syndicate. Included with the Ferguson’s are Michele Northcott (thoroughbred & harness), Gary Hardaker (harness), Sam, Murray and Robert Logan (thoroughbred), along with Ian and Carol O’Neill who sponsored the other Group 1 event decided on Sunday, the $30,000 Railway Sprint via their Qualified Pet Services business. Ian O’Neill also co-owns Robson with Pete Ferguson.


“It is a great thrill to have others involved in the racing industry racing greyhounds with us and being able to share wins like this with them. It was fantastic for them – they were all pinching themselves afterwards. To put a plan together and to pull it off is tremendous. For us in the north, the Auckland Cup in the top race (527m),” advised Ferguson, who earlier this season mentored Robson to his victory in the Waterloo Cup at Group 1 level at Manukau.


He was also quick to acknowledge Sydneysider Peter Davis and his wife Sonia, along with his mate Greg Hore. It was Hore who introduced the Ferguson’s to the Davis’s, and he has formed a great relationship with them, even having stayed with them when crossing the Tasman.


“Peter sold us Sakichi who he bred, broke in and initially raced. We enjoyed a fair bit of early success with him, then he told us we could buy his litter brother Silenci, who he rated as a better greyhound. As usual, he has been proven to be spot on.”


“He is a great thinker about the industry and for us to be able to tap into his vast experience certainly is a huge part of the success that we have been enjoying. The same applies to Greg who always keeps an eye out for dogs to send over for us,” informed Ferguson.


“Peter was in contact with us straight away – he was over the moon. The support we have had has been enormous. Selinci was a rather nervy dog when he arrived here, however, he has really come into his own lately. I know he has a lot more to offer,” added Ferguson.


This win was the eighth for Silenci and after adding in a further ten minor placings sees his career earnings from his 24 race day outings now sitting at $63,568 with the promise of a lot more to come. The racing focus for Silenci, Sakichi and Robson will be centred on Golden Chase qualifying which was an event that Robson won during the inaugural running of the two dog, four 457m match race series last year. 


Peter Ferguson, who has driven two Auckland Cup Harness winners and just under 2,000 harness race winners, has had around 25 years involvement in owing greyhounds. It was being neighbours to Peter and Lois Henley when they became more actively associated with the canine code, which translated to training greyhounds when Greg and Carolyn Hore moved from New South Wales to Cambridge.


“I had been training horses and we were struggling to make it work for us. Training greyhounds was a new dimension for us which we thoroughly enjoy doing. And no, you won’t see me training or riding thoroughbreds,” chuckled Ferguson when asked if he was going to attempt the Auckland Cups tri-code trifecta.



It sure was a buzzing Auckland Cup post-race podium with winner Silenci and third-placed Robson being feted; Silenci (right) and Robson afterwards ventured into the Manukau Stadium for photo opportunities; The Auckland GRC continued their Group 1 race presentation of an inscribed collar and lead set to all finalists for both Group 1 races – Robson’s co-owner Ian O’Neill, whose business sponsored the Qualified Pet Services Railway Sprint, is seen here receiving his collar and lead for Robson from Auckland GRC Chairman John Roberts;   


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 03 March 2020

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