Logger For Life claims second Group 2 title

Pictured: Logger For Life led throughout to win the Group 2 Waikato Classic last week.

Logger For Life secured his second Group 2 title within a matter of weeks when he strongly won last Thursday’s $20,000 Waikato Classic at Cambridge Raceway.

The Glen Hodgson-prepared $2.80 favourite son of Mepunga Blazer and Golden Pixel punched forward from the three-trap to secure the early pace. It was a position he was never going to relinquish, racing to the judge holding a 1.25 length margin over his rivals, clocking 26 seconds even for his 457m task.

Lisa Cole-trained contenders filled the minor positions, with Icy Hope claiming the runner’s-up prize after lodging a challenge to the pacemaker when within sight of the finish line. Brighton Wave kicked on stoutly for his third placing, a further 3.75 lengths behind.

The Group 2 event contained a tinge of controversy, with the outside drawn pair of chasers Who’s Jealous and Thrilling Dozer being declared late scratchings after an issue with the starting traps outside latches.       

Last month, Logger For Life won the $20,000 Lance Green Accountants Wanganui Dash For Cash, therefore it has been a rewarding period with two Group 2 races wins for Hodgson and the owning Stihl Working Syndicate.   

Logger For Life has now raced on 22 occasions, winning 11 of them. After adding in a further five placings, his career stake earnings now stand at $46,629.


Thrilling Brat Distance Final

Opawa Wine stylishly pushed her paws forward as a stayer to be reckoned with for the looming staying feature races. The Sean Codlin-trained stayer impressed with the manner that she dictated the pace to her rivals when she scampered to her 42.49 victory in last Thursday’s running of the $15,000 Thrilling Brat Distance final over 747m.

It was a performance that the former Karen Walsh-trained and Gary Harding-bred and owned classy New Zealand Hall of Fame stayer Thrilling Brat would have approved of.

The Lisa Cole-prepared Space Boy came into this feature off the back of his previous effortless Nancy Cobain Memorial (720m) win. He was bold in the game manner that he keenly chased after the pacemaker throughout to finish a length behind Opawa Wine.   

Sweet Buddy has been delivering competitive staying races against strong opposition and his conditioner Sam Lozell produced the recent Group 1 Wanganui Stayers winner to finish solidly for his third placing a further 1.5 lengths astern.

The win by the Opawa Racing-bred and owned daughter of Fernando Bale and Opawa Hop certainly was a positive boost for Codlin, with the 2023 GRNZ Board Award overall winner still recovering from injuries sustained in a serious early December accident.

Opawa Wine is a litter sister to the Group racing winner Opawa Hugo, and she has been taken along patiently by her young conditioner with this being her first assignment over a longer staying trip after having previously won both of her 650m races at this venue.

She has now won eight races and has placed in another seven outings from her 23 raceday outings, advancing her stake earnings to $28,306. She is likely to be next sighted in the $15,000 Auckland Stayers Cup over the 779m trip during the 28 January Auckland Cup meeting.  


Waikato Cup

Blinding early pace is an ingredient that makes the slick chaser Federal Infrared virtually impossible to beat. Leading mentor Lisa Cole produced her to again use that potent pace to easily dispose of her opposition in last Thursday’s running of the $10,000 Waikato Cup.

The red hot $1.20 favourite cruised through her 457m assignment, completing her task in a swift 25.22 while building a six-length margin over her rivals. Her early pace saw her cutting out her first sectional in a slippery 5.75.

Thrilling Tommy stepped up to the mark, with the Mark and John Smith-prepared chaser leading the vain chase home behind the freewheeling pacemaker. Thrilling Ralph pressed on resolutely for his conditioners Jamie Pruden and Sophie Whittaker to secure the third placing another 1.5 lengths behind.

The 21 January heats for the $80,000 Auckland Cup are rapidly looming. The Group 1 527m event is a target which could see a national record being demolished.

The Cole team mentored the champion bitch Little Mother to earn $377,751, the highest stakes tally in New Zealand Greyhound racing history.

Federal Infrared will embark on her Auckland Cup campaign as the current winner of $361,353, with all bar A$1,200 being won in New Zealand.

The Noeline Benjes-owned daughter of Aussie Infrared and Flo Jo Focus has now won 46 races and has placed on another nine occasions from her 64 raceday appearances.    


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 09 January 2024

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