Group night of racing at Cambridge on Thursday

Logger For Life is a winning hope in the Group 2 Waikato Classic on Thursday night.

The highlight for Thursday’s Waikato Club’s premier meeting is the $20,000 Waikato Classic Final. Two 457m heats held last Thursday finalised the Group 2 Waikato Classic field. with visiting greyhounds dominating both heats with only a blink of an eyelid separating the two track debuting heat winners in time.

Wanganui trainer Glen Hodgson has always maintained that his charge Logger For Life is a worthy middle distance Group race contender. The recent Group 2 305m winner confirmed that potential when delivering his on-the-pace 25.67 heat win.

Jumping from trap-3 in the decider should provide the open-class graded chaser with every opportunity of being able to replicate those same handy-to-the-pace tactics.

Garry Cleeve is making the long return trek north with his 25.68 heat winner. Who’s Jealous. He was sighted doing his best work at the business end of his heat when running home in 6.96. He’s a likely improver and drawing out in the seven-trap shouldn’t overly faze him, as he wore the green racing vest in his heat.

The potent Lisa Cole kennels are retuning with four finalists, including Writ Large who is the only Australian-bred chaser in the final. She has raced twice since crossing the Tasman, both occasions being at Cambridge.

She won first-up in a C2 375m dash in a sharp 20.99, then set up the pace prior to being nailed late by Who’s Jealous by a head margin in her heat. Being allocated the ace-trap to exit from is likely to see her again attending the early pace.

Kennelmate Icy Hope finished resolutely for her heat neck second to Logger For Life, which certainly illustrates the evenness of this field as seen by her 25.62 457m PB at this venue. She’s another who is likely to be sighted vying for the early pace from trap-two.

Brighton Wave is considered as a strong New Zealand Derby prospect by the Cole kennel and the only other C5 assessed runner in this field was bold when overcoming buffering in his heat for his 3.8 length heat fourth placing behind Who’s Jealous. He will be loaded away into the five-trap for the first time in his 17-race career.

Wild Zambora completes the Cole representation in this event. He may only be currently graded as a C1 chaser; however, his potential was there for everyone to see with his pair of quick 25.63 457m and 30.04 520m maiden victories. 

The half-brother to the multiple Group race winner Space Boy has certainly inherited the family ability, and he was just a neck and a head away from Logger For Life in his heat in what was his first look at the Cambridge venue.

Smoking Ivan raced in the midfield for his Canterbury conditioner Matt Roberts, from where he pressed on stoutly for his 2.2 length heat fourth to Logger For Life.  He needs to quickly push forward from his trap-four draw in this final.

Thrilling Dozer is the only locally mentored greyhound in this field; however, his overall race claims certainly cannot be dismissed. His conditioners Jamie Pruden and Sophie Whittaker have produced him for four previous wins at this track, with his best 457m clock being 25.91. He is provided with swooping claims from his first career trap-eight draw.


$15,000 Thrilling Brat Distance

Thrilling Brat was an extraordinary stayer of the very highest quality. The Group 1-winning Duke of Edinburgh and Australian Superstars stayer was also an accomplished greyhound on his home Cambridge track, which included his outstanding 2010 victory in the rich Waikato Maiden final.

It is appropriate that Thrilling Brat is remembered in this 747m staying event, which includes a number of the current in-form stayers who are currently in commission.

For example, Lisa Cole prepared Space Boy to easily win his last start Nancy Cobain Memorial at Group 2 level over 720m. He ran away and hid from his opposition, as can be gauged by his 9.75 length winning margin.

The current Auckland Cup (527m) title holder is a versatile greyhound who uses his early pace when attempting to grind his rivals into submission. He is expected to apply similar tactics in this event after jumping from trap-five.

Sweet Buddy was the runner-up to Space Boy in that Manawatu-hosted race after having previously run down Space Boy in the Group 1 755m Wanganui Distance Final.  Sam Lozell has mentored him to become a consistent stayer and he’s likely to be sighted at the pointy end of this race.

The post-race podium claims held by the Corey Steele-prepared Opawa Rat cannot be overlooked here, as he pressed on resolutely for his 13.5 length third in his last start 720m task. He is a must for combination ticket holders. 

The success that local conditioner Arch Lawrence has enjoyed over many years with his home-bred stayers has been outstanding. Therefore, when Lawrence lines up a runner for a 747m staying event, his charge/s must be respected.

Orson Blonde will represent him here, and she is likely to relish her 747m assignment here, being a daughter of the high-class stayer from her era, Shandell. She has to push forward quickly from her rails draw here.

Opawa Wine led home Orson Blonde over 650m here two races ago. Sean Codlin has prepared her to win both of her career staying races, which includes her 650m first-up C0D task. It will be interesting to see how she handles her first look at 747m racing.

Solider Boy, who will exit from trap-eight, completes the drawn field for local trainer Tom Patton. He is proven over the 650m trip here, where he is generally sighted finishing strongly. He's another who will be checking out a longer journey for the first time.


$10,000 Waikato Cup

The explosive Federal Infrared flicked on the turbo-chargers, when she produced her slick 25.26 457m win at this venue last Thursday for Lisa Cole. Replicating that time can see her building a similar 7.5 length winning margin as last week’s.

Her anticipated victory in this feature will leave this winner of $356,234 just $16,398 short of Little Mother's all-time national $377,751 stakes earning record.

The Cole kennels have two back-up runners in this event, with Federal Aussie returning after his distant fourth to Federal Infrared last week. Kennelmate Big Time Noise suffered from an impeded racing passage in that event.

Local trainers Jamie Pruden and Sophie Whittaker have their charge Thrilling Ralph ticking over sweetly at the moment, and he was solid when he chased home Federal Infrared here last week. The pink racing that he will be wearing is likely to be sighted featuring at the business of this race.

Garry Cleeve brought Know Speed north last week, who was seen finishing resolutely for his 8.75 length third to Federal Infrared. He can be expected to finish strongly again here.

Pukekohe trainer Glennis Farrell would have been delighted when seeing her charge Zipping River being allocated the ace-trap. He is a proven chaser from the inside traps and taking up a handy early position can see him snaring a portion of the stake.

The Rob Roper kennels are currently ticking over extra well. In this instance, he will be represented by Big Time Express, who tends to mix his efforts. He does enjoy racing from inside traps, therefore exiting from trap-two can aid his claims, providing he uses his known early pace.

Mark and John Smith provide Thrilling Tommy to contest this event. He attempted to push forward from trap-eight in last Thursday's C4/5 457m race, but he wasn't able to clear inside traffic. He will be seen wearing the white racing vest in this feature.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 02 January 2024

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