Elsa Eclipses Kennel Mates in New Zealand Oaks Victory

Another big week of New Zealand Greyhound Racing has come to a close, with some very competitive racing in both the North and South Islands. Sunday at Cambridge provided a couple of very open top grade races. Charlow for Ron and Nyomi O’Regan capped off some very consistent form with a gutsy victory in 21.25 for the 375m. The biggest performance of the week occurred in the top class middle distance race where Thrilling Baxter held off the in-form Lochinvar Dynamo in a lightning-quick 25.18s time for the 457m. Baxter for Karen Walsh has recently proven himself as one of the most improved dogs in the North Island, if not, the whole country. This seasons New Zealand Derby has the potential to be incredibly fascinating with the likes of Thrilling Baxter, Leonard Bale, and Bigtime Cooper in the mix.

Bigtime Cooper was back to his winning ways on Tuesday at Manawatu Raceway leading throughout on the back of another blistering beginning. Zipping Sarah closed gamely to finish only one length behind Cooper in a 25.86s. His early speed, especially on the one turn tracks, is a massive asset to retain after his serious injury. The absence of Big Time Angel on Tuesday left Big Time Fairy with a prime chance to take out the weekly Class 5 sprint and she did not disappoint leading all of the way and emerging victorious in a 23.51s for the 410m journey.

Addington once again hosted the week's premier meeting headlined by the Group One Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Oaks and the Canterbury Greyhound OTB Maiden Final on the under card. Young trainer Daniel Lane had great success in last year's edition of the OTB Maiden Final with Tricky, and this year he went back to back as Penalty Drop was too tough for his opposition winning in a solid 30.55s, ahead of kennel mate Best Ball. The OTB Maidens have been a launching pad to the careers of many promising dogs in the past, with this year's crop looking to follow a similar path.

In a remarkable turn of events, Team Cole would be the victors of the Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Oaks before the contestants would even leave the boxes. History was made last week as Cole would train the first two runners home in each of the four heats. Six of the promising puppies are New Zealand bred while the remaining two in Jilliby Litsa and Nova Willow are Australian born. Early pace is a key trait for the majority of the Cole trained field and it was to little surprise that Bigtime Elsa and Bigtime Brie were the first two into stride. Bigtime Elsa took the early ascendency and would lead to the first corner in a super 5.79s. Bigtime Brie demonstrated her searing mid-race speed to pass Elsa in the back straight putting up a middle section of 17.82s. Brie seemingly had a winning break halfway down the home straight, as Bigtime Elsa was her only danger. Elsa left her sustained run until the very last stride regaining the lead and victory by half a head in 30.36s. Nova Willow finished on very strongly to third, while her Australian bred kennel mate Jilliby Litsa finished fourth. Bigtime Elsa takes her career earnings to over $50,000, as her twelfth career victory marked her biggest win to date.


Written by Shane Kendall

Posted on 31 August 2020

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