Opawa Superstar seeking more Group 1 glory

Opawa Superstar will jump from Box 1 in Race 4 at Cambridge on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Dave Robbie.


Some of the best restricted age dogs from around the country will congregate in Cambridge on Thursday for heats of the $50,000 Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators New Zealand Derby.

Headline act Opawa Superstar has drawn Box 1 in the third and final heat, and he is currently priced up at $3 to win the final with TAB NZ.

It was only last month that the son of Fernando Bale and Opawa Tab won the Group 1 Auckland Cup, and he has now won his past six races straight. He’ll be having his first look at the Cambridge track on Thursday, but this doesn’t cause any concerns for co-trainer Dave Fahey.

“Having his first look at Auckland and Manawatu didn’t worry him, so this shouldn’t either,” said Fahey, who trains with his wife, Jean.

“I’m expecting him to go a great race from the draw. He’s travelling well and seems pretty good.”

Opawa Wayne, who finished second behind Opawa Superstar in last month’s Auckland Cup, will jump from Box 6 in Race 2. He brings outstanding form into the heat, having clocked 29.80 in an easy victory at Addington a few weeks ago.

“He’s jumping really well now and he should get a reasonably clear run early. He’s a really good chance,” said Fahey.

Opawa Goat completes the Fahey triumvirate in the Derby heats. The talented chaser will jump from Box 4 in Race 3, and he hasn’t been sighted at the races since finishing fourth at Manukau at the end of February.

“He’s come back from an injury,” explained Fahey. “He’s had a couple of trials and went pretty good.

“He’s got a bit of early pace and if he can get to the lead, he could be a chance.”

In addition to their Derby hopes, the Faheys also have Nevada Phil in a heat of the Group 2 Angus Wright Memorial Sprint (Race 7) and Opawa Gina in a heat of the Group 2 Lois Henley Memorial Trophy (Race 9).

“Nevada Phil is always a good chance, especially over the 375m – the Addington trip is a bit short for him.

“And Opawa Gina went a really good race at Southland in her first look there. Whatever she does on Thursday, she’ll improve on – she just needs to be in the top four to get into the final next week.”

Race 1 at Cambridge on Thursday gets underway at 12:13pm, and the Derby heats are Races 2, 3 and 4.

By Liz Whelan

Posted on 06 April 2022

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