Waterloo Cup Review 2020

New Zealand’s oldest and most historically rich race took place on Sunday at Manukau Auckland. The Waterloo Cup at Group One level promised to be a cracking contest. Two of the leading chances faced off previously in the New Zealand Derby and Whanganui Cup where Leonard Bale had the best of Bigtime Cooper on both occasions. Newcomer and impressive heat winner Portland Berty lined up in his first group race at start 15, would the lack of track experience play a part for the youngest dog in the field? Nova Willow seems to have an affinity with the Auckland track as her two wins there have come from as many starts. Both Big Time Harley and Anton had yet to race at Auckland after their strong Whanganui heat finishes. Goldstar Mauney showed great strength in his heat running down Leonard Bale, and Ginny Weasley could potentially lead up again after showing good early speed in her heat.

Some very good dogs have won this race in the past, Sergio for Gary Harding and Little Mother for Lisa Cole were freakish performers and they followed victories in the 2010 and 2011 Waterloo Cups with New Zealand Cup trophies a few months later. Dyna Vikkers did exactly the same in 2015 with the Waterloo New Zealand Cup double. Thrilling Boris left his opposition gasping for Karen Walsh with a superb 29.97s victory in 2016, the fastest winning time in the last decade. The form out of this race is historically strong for dogs who go on to the New Zealand Cup finals.

As we have seen so many times before, Bigtime Cooper overcame an unfavourable draw as he flew out from box seven putting a couple of lengths on his rivals heading down the back straight. Cooper’s nemesis of late has been Leonard Bale and once again a repeat of the New Zealand Derby looked likely just before the corner as Leonard Bale loomed large passing a brave Cooper once again. Leonard Bale held out a fast-finishing and Big Time Harley secured his second Group One and third Feature race post lockdown. Leonard Bale continues to impress and will no doubt be an early favourite for the New Zealand Cup. Leonard Bale has put it all together at the right time of year as he is steadily finishing his races off better over the two turn tracks, and his ability to run both types of track to a high level validates his star status. Big Time Harley was massive as his run home would have no doubt been the fastest comfortably. Bigtime Cooper put in another very honest performance finishing third, always giving a great sight upfront. Portland Berty was a close up fourth and went a very encouraging race over the 527 m at his second ever attempt. With a dozen wins from only 22 starts, Leonard Bale takes his stake earnings close to the $80,000 mark, with the vast majority of it coming in from the last six months of racing.

Written by Shane Kendall

Posted on 19 October 2020

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