Runner-by-runner NZ Cup and Galaxy previews

Pictured: Opawa Superstar, Shane Kendall's top pick for the Gr. 1 Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand Cup. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

Shane Kendall has done the hard yards for the punters, and has analysed all of the finalists for the $100,000 Gr. 1 Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand Cup on Thursday night at Addington, as well as the finalists for the $30,000 Gr. 1 The Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Galaxy.


Gr. 1 Suck It Up Ltd New Zealand Cup (Race 9 @ 8:24pm)

  1. Tokyo Bird. C Roberts.

She looks like she could be back to her best form at the right time of year. Missed the kick in last week’s semi-final, giving the leader four lengths, before running Fairly Able to a neck at the finish. Her heat win from Box 8 was impressive in a fresh state. She will be nearing her best for this and Craig Roberts will have her ready as he looks to add to the NZ Cup Dyna Vickers won for him in 2015.

  1. Fairly Able. J & D Fahey.

Upset winner in last week’s semi-final but has always shown glimpses of potential. Each year, there is generally a surprise finalist and she would be this year’s candidate. There is a lot of speed directly to her outside this Thursday, which will make it tough on her to replicate last week’s efforts.

  1. Leonard Bale. C Roberts.

The best chance of Craig Roberts’ three runners. A 29.92 victory last week set the time standard, as he blazed a scorching mid-sectional, which set the win up for him. A rising four-year-old, but his recent form is as good as it has ever been. He has his challenges early with Rock On John to his outer, although he held him at bay last week in similar circumstances.

  1. Rock On John. J & D Fahey.

Last year’s winner at start 13, and has taken a year to regain his best form for this race. A string of seconds leading up to this race have been set up by quick beginnings. Would need to lead to win, as he is not the strongest to the line. A big effort by the Faheys to give him the chance to defend his title.

  1. Clarke’s Sarki. B Dann.

A remarkable effort from the dog and trainer Bruce Dann to make it to the final, on the back of wins from tough draws against talented opposition. Drawing the squeeze for the final does not help with a plethora of speed inside. May need to rely on luck but has been a pleasant surprise over the series so far.

  1. Dalisha Bale. C Roberts.

Perhaps the other of the surprise finalists on the back of a strong run home to beat out kennel mate Bahati Bale for her spot in the final. Would be hard to envision her winning but could be running home again for a place spot if a clear run presents itself.

  1. Opawa Superstar. J & D Fahey.

Superstar by name and by nature. A serious greyhound who has all the aspects of a complete dog. He is quick, brave, and smart. Jumped poorly by his standards last week but found his way to the rail easily enough. This is definitely his biggest challenge to date, but one he is up to. May not get his own way early as Panda is a noted beginner. He has started his career in much the same fashion as Winsome Opawa did over a decade ago for the same trainer-owner combination, with 11 wins and two seconds from 13 career starts.

  1. Big Time Panda. L Cole.

An extremely talented bitch who looms as an early Oaks favourite for next year. She is getting stronger over this trip and is becoming familiar with the Addington track. Will be a hard ask from this wide out but could definitely give this race a shake up early with her best beginning.

  1. Opawa Travis. P Green.

Desperately unlucky not to make the final, leaving his run just a tad late in the semi-final, running a super third in the fastest heat.

  1. Humbling. J & D Fahey.

Closed off stoutly, finishing half a length behind Big Time Panda for third in the semi-final. Will most likely be running in the 645m feature earlier on in the meeting.


Shane’s New Zealand Cup selections: 7-3-1-5

Pictured: Bigtime Cooper is ideally drawn in Box 1 in the Galaxy final. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.

Gr. 1 The Fitz Sports Bar New Zealand Galaxy (Race 7 @ 7:38pm)

  1. Bigtime Cooper. L Cole.

Would be a fitting result for him to take out his second Group 1 for career win 50. His Wanganui Cup Group 1 victory was nearly two and a half years ago. Has come back from numerous setbacks but always chases his heart out. He was the fastest semi-final winner with a 16.99. Drawing the ace further enhances his claims in this event.

  1. Violet Lu. D Lane.

One of three sisters in the race which is surely a first in the history of the race. She pushed Big Time Brie to within a neck in the semi-final and was not the best away herself. She would have to cross Cooper to be a winning chance and that could prove hard to accomplish. We will be seeing plenty more of this young star in the season to come.

  1. Charlotte Lu. D Lane.

Not always the best into stride and will need her A-game for this event. Box 3 is a more suitable draw for her after two Box 6s in the heat and semi. She holds a sub-17 second time and could be the giant killer in the race, if she can put up a fast early section. Cooper had her measure by five lengths in the semi-final though, which is a head-start she can ill afford.

  1. Nevada Phil. J & D Fahey.

The sole Fahey runner in the race, who looked a winner on the home turn in the semi, before Victoria Lu showed a kick and held him out. Box 4 may not suit him in a field with some serious early heat. May need a slice of luck in the running but he cannot be completely discounted.

  1. Big Time Brie. L Cole.

The impressive thing about her is that she has overcome poor starts by her standards in both the heat and the semi-final last week. She has the potential to put this race away if she takes a flyer. She is a multiple winner over middle distances and would take a whole lot of beating if she led this field. Like kennel mate Typhoon Tim outside her, she likes to use a bit of the track. Has already won 10 times from this draw.

  1. Typhoon Tim. L Cole.

The third of the Cole runners with a genuine winning claim. His heat win of 16.90 is the fastest of the series to date. Box 6 should be of little concern, and with his lightning early sectional, it is likely that he will be up in the leading pack early. Leaves the rail open on the corner if anything is close enough to challenge him. Biggest test to date, as he looks to keep his perfect Addington sprint record.

  1. Opawa Bailey. S Lozell.

Has done well to navigate his way through to the final. He is not a noted beginner and will most likely need trouble to feature in this. Unfortunately for him, this is his second Box 7 in the race after having no luck from it finishing last to Trojan Hoarse in last year’s edition for Robin Wales. Big effort to make the final, but the draw quells his chances significantly.

  1. Victoria Lu. D Lane.

She has done very little wrong in her career to date, winning seven from nine races. Making a Group 1 final at start 10 is a remarkable achievement and she shows a tremendous amount of heart. This was put on display in last week’s semi-final, where she fought back against the much more experienced Nevada Phil. Box 8 is not ideal for her, but do expect another honest performance.

  1. Mitcham Magic. J McInerney.

Misses out on a spot in the final by the barest of margins. Gains the ace draw in the C5 sprint feature, where he is a decent winning chance.

  1. Trousseau. J Dunn

Her heat win was impressive, but she could not quite back it up last week. Will start from Box 2 in an earlier race on the program.

Shane’s Galaxy selections: 1-6-4-8

Posted on 09 November 2021

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