Competitive NZ Derby field assembled for Thursday

Diego Jem has come up with Box 1 in Thursday’s
$50,000 Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators Limited New Zealand Derby. Photo credit: Yvette Bodiam.

Form analyst Shane Kendall has given his thoughts ahead of the $50,000 Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators Limited New Zealand Derby on Thursday at Cambridge Raceway. Race 8 is timed to go at 2:39pm.

1. Diego Jem. A Hart.

Produced one of the best track debuts in recent memory with a 25.40 heat win from Box 6, defeating Opawa Superstar in the process. At start 11 on Thursday, he gets a real chance to take this race out from Box 1. The start prior at Addington, he posted a 16.81 for the 295m, which was the fastest run since Bolty well over a year ago. He looks a promising type beyond this race and from the kind draw, will be a major player.

2. Hint Of Mint. G & S Fredrickson.

He has been super impressive since arriving in New Zealand and only tasted his first defeat in five starts last week in behind Master Porthos. Securing this box for the final should aid him as he does slightly head for the rail. Last week’s run from Box 8 in the fastest heat was solid, as it took him a while to clear runners on his inner. His win before that was from Box 2 at Cambridge in a 25.67. He may need to find a few lengths to really challenge, but he rates as a legitimate place chance.

3. Mad World. R Waite.

A big effort to run second to Opawa Wayne in the slowest of the three heats. He may have finished nine lengths in arrears, but it was his first look at the track and he seemed a bit lost. He jumped well before drifting off the track, which is consistent with his racing style. This is his greatest test to date by some margin.

4. Opawa Goat. J & D Fahey.

Jumped well but was outpaced early by Master Porthos on the way to a third placing in the fastest of the three heats. Draws Box 4 again, with a wide runner to his inside. Has a bit of upside to him and has started his career in promising fashion. Would need a lot to go his way to feature against some of these.

5. Opawa Wayne. J & D Fahey.

Has come of age of late and has always shown signs of being a competitive dog in the top races. His 25.42 win was comfortable in the end from Box 6. Nearly chased down Master Porthos in his start prior at Ascot Park and finished second in the Auckland Cup before that. He will need to do a lot right but he has the potential to upset this field.

6. Opawa Kirk. G Farrell.

Relatively inexperienced for a northern based greyhound at Cambridge who races mostly at Manukau. Opawa Kirk finished on stoutly behind Diego Jem and Opawa Superstar for his third placing where he made up some good ground from the middle of the pack. His Box 6 stats are good overall but has two quick canines to his outside. Will need some luck in the running to get a slice of this.

7. Opawa Superstar. J & D Fahey.

Not his best beginning by any means and he had been defeated on a one-turn track before from the ace draw. Box 7 does not exactly suit him down to the ground in this field, with the speed around him, but he is a Superstar for a reason. A true professional who will be up for this, as he looks to add another Group race win to his collection.

8. Master Porthos. A Hart.

Scintillating best-of-day time for his heat win from Box 2 as he flew the lids and punished the line running a 25.29. History has repeated from his Railway series where he posted the fasted time in the heats from Box 3, but he did find trouble off Box 7 for the final. Box 8 will present a few challenges to him on Thursday, but he is good enough to overcome them if he can make another flyer.

Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators Limited New Zealand Derby Selections: 7-1-5-8

Group 2 Angus Wright Memorial Sprint Selections: 4-3-6-8

Group 2 Lois Henley Memorial Trophy Selections: 1-2-8-5


By Shane Kendall

Posted on 13 April 2022

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