Strong field assembled for Group 2 North Island Championship

Cumbria Lad will jump from Box 1 for Courtney Turnwald in the Group 2 North Island Championship at Manawatu Raceway on Friday. Photo supplied by Palmerston North Greyhound Racing Club.

Form analyst Shane Kendall has given his thoughts ahead of the Group 2 North Island Championship on Friday.

1. Cumbria Lad. C Turnwald.
Winner of the Wind Power Stakes Final here in December against three of these contestants. He drew Box 2 that day and powered up along the rails after the favourite Opawa Superstar missed away from the ace. Opawa Superstar has only been beaten once since then in nine starts and is not in this field. Cumbria Lad has failed to qualify for the Manawatu and Auckland Cup finals since. His best form was a month ago where he chalked up a 25.75 457m win, and a quick 23.08 victory over the 410m. Has been a bit down on his best since his return from Auckland but is a class act and it would be foolish to drop him in this event.

2. Big Time Kaylee. L Cole.
Like Cumbria Lad, a victory on Friday will put her career stakes in excess of $100,000. She took out last year’s Group 1 NZ Breeders’ Stakes over the 520m at Addington Raceway which is still her best career victory to date. Kaylee has found form at the right time for this event. Last week’s victory was a tough one, as she held out the fast-finishing Agent Levi in 26.04. Box 2 should aid her chances, especially if Cumbria Lad makes a poor beginning as he did last week.

3. Big Time Baby. L Cole.
Downgraded back to C4 as of last week’s miss behind Big Time Kaylee. She has finished in the top three in 48 of her 96 starts, with 22 wins and earnings nearing the $70,000 mark. Baby’s biggest career victory was the 2020 Wanganui Oaks on Spion Rose night. She is upward of four years old now and her best racing is probably behind her. Would be a big surprise to see her featuring prominently in this event.

4. Big Time Maple. L Cole.
Owns an impressive career record of 23 wins and 37 placings and has spent a large chunk of her career in the top grade. Her biggest career win came earlier this month where she gunned down Big Time Kaylee late in the Winsome Ashley Trophy on Auckland Cup Day. Jumped very well last week but lacks midrace pace, before finishing her races out well. She could be a place smokey in this on recent form, but will have to be handy on the turn.

5. Mustang Charlie. L Cole.
A talented canine with an abundance of speed. Charlie finished second in behind Cumbria Lad in the Wind Power Stakes Final at the end of last year which has been his best performance stakes wise so far. His sensational winning time of 25.38 was the fastest since Federal Morgan held a monopoly on CD racing a year ago. Charlie has been off the scene with a minor injury and enters this fresh. The best version of him wins this but he does have his quirks.

6. Freedom League. L Cole.
Blessed with the early pace required to lead a lot of these races, conversely last week when backed in she missed away. Rarely tried from Box 6 but her Box 7 stats are impressive. She finished a solid second from the 7 behind Opawa Superstar in last month’s Manawatu Cup. Could prove hard to peg back if she can take a flyer and cross Mustang Charlie early in the race.

7. Agent Levi. G & S Fredrickson.
Victorian import who has been in the country for over a year with limited racing due to injury. Came on the scene over a year ago when winning a qualifying trial in 17.11 for the 305m at Hatrick Raceway. This time was half a length off the 2016 track record set by Allegro Gun. He wowed in his first raceday start in New Zealand a year later, running down Typhoon Tim in 23.10. Showed a bit of toe in his Auckland Cup heat before running Big Time Kaylee to a short margin last week. He is drawn perfectly to swoop around the outer, and is not without some chance in this today.

8. Not Even Owl. L Cole.
The rookie of the starting field so to speak, he has shown the ability of a dog to watch in the future at different times. Earlier in the month, he took out a feature race at Manukau on Auckland Cup Day against more seasoned competition, including Opawa Kirk who was flying at the time. Drawing in 8 does present challenges as he has yet to run better than third in three starts from the draw, and he has yet to race against the caliber of this field.

9. Allegro Zippy. L Cole.
In the event of her gaining a start, she will be facing off in her first C5 graded race at Manawatu Raceway. Did not disgrace herself when leading early in an Auckland Cup heat before fading to fifth. At present, she is not strong at the business end of her races, but in time she could be, and her early speed could be a weapon.

By Shane Kendall

Posted on 24 March 2022

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