Auckland Cup and Railway Finalists Confirmed

This Sunday promises to be something truly special as dual Group 1 races, the Railway Sprint over 318m and the Auckland Cup over 527m will take place at the Manukau Sports Bowl. 8 heats took place on Sunday over the two features as we were treated to some of the best performances in recent memory.


The Railway heats proved to be incredibly even with the inside draws playing massive parts in the victories of Big Time Jonie and Big Time Fairy who both held their spot on the rail from box one. Jonie set the time-standard of 18.25s as he pushed paint impressively before running home in an above average clip in heat one. Archie John Hill used box two to his advantage as he flew out by his standards to assume control holding up the rail on his way to another strong time of 18.27s. Little Big Time Fairy is one of the bravest canines in New Zealand sprint racing, at a mere 23 kilograms she more than held her own against much bigger opposition. Despite having the coveted ace draw she pushed off the in-form Sports Mode mid-way through the race before holding onto victory in 18.38s. The grand campaigner Trojan Hoarse made it 65 career victories with his 18.30s victory in the final heat. One could say he had it the hardest of the heat winners from box five although his box speed and ability to cross quickly to the rail has made him one of New Zealand’s most dominant performers. Buddy Boom’s brave second books him a spot in the final where he will have to be on his game to defend his 2020 title. Oakmont for Daniel Lane and Nangar Hurricane for Peter Ferguson complete what looks on paper to be a classic New Zealand Railway field.


The final of the $80,000 Auckland Cup is just as impressive on paper as the Railway, and the heats were set alight by some phenomenal performances. Drink Shoeys put in the race of his career in the opening heat posting the fastest time over the 527m in many years with a staggering 29.88s run. Thirteen years ago Winsome Ashley famously ran 29.77s en route to one of the greatest Auckland Cup victories. Flying times were in abundance as Federal Morgan fresh off breaking Manawatu Raceways track record posted a 29.98s on his first ever look at the track as he won the second heat with as much dominance as Drink Shoeys did in the first. Last year the 30 second barrier was broken once and in the space of half an hour, it was broken twice, by a very speedy pair of canines.


Southern Visitor La Rochelle for Jason Dunn put in another super run for her first look on the track with an all of the way 30.25s victory. She exited the traps superbly and held out the challenges of Jilliby Litsa and Big Time Lantao who were up in the early group. Leonard Bale for Craig Roberts lead from start to finish carrying on the front runners theme in a time of 30.20s, ahead of the fast-finishing black book performance of Know Keeper for Gary Cleeve who got super close at the business end. Roberts will also prepare Zipping Sheldon for this weeks final and Phil Green will line up both Rivalries and Opawa Travis after their commendable runs for second in what looms as an Auckland Cup for the ages.


The commentary was absolutely on point from Andrew McCook who provided clear and exciting calls throughout the day. The code is lucky to have such an enthusiastic young caller who has a bright future ahead of him.

(from left to right; La Rochelle wins in 30.25, Leonard Bale wins in 30.22, Federal Morgan wins in 29.98,
Drink Shoeys wins in 29.88)

Auckland Cup Heat Videos

Railway Heat Videos

Written by Shane Kendall

Posted on 23 March 2021

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