Huge night of premier racing at Addington Thursday

Pictured: Opawa Schofer is the narrow favourite for the Group 1
Springston Hotel New Zealand Breeders’ Stakes. Photo credit: Steve Hurd.

Scintillating times were the order of the evening during the running of the four Group 1 520m heats held at the Addington Raceway last Thursday, with all heats going under the 30-second barrier.

The pair of Restricted Age finals at this Thursday evening’s premier meeting promises to deliver similar excitement, along with the stayers who also set the track alight during their pair of 732m heats.


$30,000 2024 Springston Hotel New Zealand Breeders’ Stakes

Goldstar Nova set the time standard for the girls, when she freewheeled through her 520m heat assignment in 29.93 for her conditioner Riley Evans. She was always in control, as evidenced by her 3.75 length winning margin.

“She has always looked good, and once she found the lead in her heat, she burnt away. She has to lead early and if she does, she can replicate last week. She has strength on her side,” said Evans about his charge who set up her heat win when cutting out her first sectional in 5.84 seconds.

Goldstar Remi is the other Evans-trained contender, who secured her final field position via her 8.5 length heat fourth behind kennelmate Goldstar Nova.

“Remi is actually the fastest of out two runners. She’s a competitive C5 bitch who owns plenty of burn. She is bringing big race experience into the final and she’s capable of finishing off her race strongly,” advised Evans, who added, “It’s good to get two runners into a Group 1 final, which means we are doing things right.”.

Opawa Schofer impressed when Dave and Jean Fahey produced her to record her pace-making 29.98 heat win. She built a 4.75 length margin over her rivals. She secures the draw advantage, having been allocated the one-trap to jump from.

The Faheys advanced two other females through to the decider with Opawa Susan, who is a litter sister to Opawa Schofer, gamely leading the chase behind Goldstar Nova. Opawa Katrina was solid when she stoutly kicked on to wind up 8.5 lengths astern of Goldstar Nova.

Kennel foreperson Katie Wyllie took time out from her busy schedule to update us on the kennel thoughts heading into Thursday.

“We are very happy with Opawa Schofer. We gave her a brief freshen up after Auckland and she came out running in her heat. We are happy with her draw.

“Opawa Susan went super in her heat, especially with the way that she made up late ground. We would like to see her jumping better especially from that draw (5).

“Opawa Katrina has to get onto the early pace and her draw out wide (7) isn’t that bad for her. We are very happy with our runners, and they are very happy within themselves.” 

Lisa Cole will be venturing south from her Palmerston North base again with a pair of My Boy Fabio and No Time Toulouse litter sisters. Long Non White will have benefited from her track debut outing following her sound heat second placing behind Opawa Schofer.

“She has a nice draw (2) and I expect improvement from her. She has returned from a seasonal issue and she is capable of racing on the pace, providing she makes a clean break,” suggested Brendon Cole.

The speedy Icy Hope raced handy to the pace when delivering her 4.75 length heat third to Goldstar Nova.

“We are happy with her heat run and she would have benefited from that race. She has pace and strength, and again, she is a chance with a quick start (from Box 3),” said Cole about the other open class graded greyhound in the final.

Matt Roberts produced the outsider Adobe Peach (C1) to run the race of her career when she kicked on solidly for her 7.5 length third behind Opawa Schofer.

“We threw her into the deep end, as we’ve always knew she has a bit of ability. She had a nice draw in her heat, and she came away good. Drawing Box 8 in the final makes it hard to see how she can get across the others. In saying that, she may get a lucky run into the first turn. We are looking forward to the race,” stated Roberts.


$30,000 2024 Active Electrical Christchurch New Zealand St Leger

Goldstar Mostert was a heat winner of the Active Electrical Christchurch New Zealand St Leger. Photo credit: Steve Hurd.

It is an intriguing and competitive looking field of male greyhounds who will contest this Group 1 520m event.

Wolf Blast West blasted through his 520m assignment, stopping the clock in a quick 29.82. Dave and Jean Fahey own and train him, and he will be loaded away into the four-trap for the decider.

“It was nice see what he can do in the manner that he won his heat. He’s going to have to make a similar good start. He has strength on his side, and he has pulled up good. We are very pleased with him,” confirmed Katie Wyllie.

Goldstar Mostert seized control of his heat when rounding the first turn for his conditioner Riley Evans, and it was a race lead he was never going to hand up, as he scampered to his quick 29.92 heat victory.

“He can absolutely fly, and we have always rated him as a very fast dog. He’s still maturing, and he has got more in the tank. I would like to see him cross the inside dog and if he does that, he’s right in it,” said Evans about his trap-two drawn contender.

The intrigue factor in this final is provided by the Lisa Cole-mentored exciting youngster He’s All Go. He arrived at Addington Raceway as the stylish winner of all of his previous five races.

It was an extraordinary performance by the inexperienced chaser just to qualify, when he wound up a creditable 4.5 length second to Wolf Blast West. He raced very greenly, with it being obvious he appeared lost on the circuit owing to the wide open expanses of the venue. He potentially looms as a huge improver from trap-three for the decider, following his track debut outing.

“He’s All Go is the fastest greyhound we have ever bred – he’s an absolute freak. You saw that he didn’t cop the track first-up in his heat. He will have benefited immensely from that race.

“At some stage he will race in Australia – that’s how highly we regard him,” advised Brendon Cole, who added more about the syndication of the greyhound.

“Paul Claridge has put together a large group of high-profile thoroughbred and harness industry people. It’s awesome that so many racing people can be involved in a greyhound of this quality. It sure is super exciting about the future for him.”  

The Cole-trained Brighton Wave is the only open-graded chaser in the final, and he returns after delivering his 4.25 length heat third to Goldstar Mostert.

“He went really good in his heat. I expect improvement from him, as he missed some lead-in work. He’s a nice dog, who can overcome his draw (5) and he has heaps of pace,” said Cole.

Local conditioner Garry Cleeve advanced two contenders to the final. Who’s Jealous has been delivering consistent recent races, including his 2.75 length heat second to Goldstar Mostert. Drawing out in trap-eight certainly hasn’t harmed his claims in this event.

“I don’t mind his draw, although he must begin quickly. If he does, he has the pace to position himself forward going into the first turn. He isn’t scared to put his shoulder in, and he has a real turn of speed when rounding the turn. He’s a hard dog to get past if he’s in front,” suggested Cleeve.

Kennelmate Know Defence was sighted putting in some big, late bounds when he secured his final field position, winding up 5.5 lengths behind Goldstar Mostert in fourth.

“The biggest issue he has is his lack of early pace, meaning he’s likely to settle back and rely on others copping some bad luck. Eventually, we will step him up in distance. Both of our runners are all set to go on Thursday,” said Cleeve.

Howard Anderton is delighted to be lining up his first ever greyhound in a Group 1 final. His charge Brave Ruler sure was brave in the manner that he delivered his bold six-length heat third behind Wolf Blast West. He receives the added bonus of racing from trap-one.

“Yes, it is exciting to have qualified him for a Group 1 final. He’s only a C2 dog, so hopefully his good draw can negate the class others have in the race. He has broken 30 seconds over 520m (29.95).

“It is exciting and very satisfying for us as we bred him – he’s like a family pet to us. He’s come through his heat in good shape and he had a good run up our track last night (Monday), said Anderton.  

Tony Hart and Dylan Voyce will return with Master Pablo, who kicked on stoutly when booking his final field position via his 7.75 length heat fourth behind Wolf Blast West. 

“He’s pulled up really good. I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels about his draw (7), as it’s a very good restricted age field. He must start from out there like he did three races ago. If he does, then he can make the draw work for him. He’s right in the zone for Thursday,” confirmed Voyce.


$15,000 2024 The Homekill Guys Sockburn Cup

The stayers continue to deliver quality staying performances, as was witnessed in the pair of engrossing heats held last week for this time-honoured 732m event.

Bob Pringle has his pride and joy Grand Vue Ace currently racing in tremendous style. She backed up her impressive Auckland Stayers Cup (779m) with an outstanding personal best 42.91 heat victory.

She settled in the midfield along the rail, from where she strongly extended during the run home (12.99) to outfinish a very gallant Dan Roberts-prepared Opawa Corban by three-quarters of a length. She is again likely to settle on the rail, prior to again rushing home late against the fence.

On the other paw, it was the Lisa Cole-trained Space Boy who set up the tempo, defying his rivals to run him down – they couldn’t, with Space Boy reaching the judge after 42.98 seconds of hard-out chasing.

Opawa Gina was really solid, when Dave and Jean Fahey presented her to gamely chase after Space Boy, closing to within 1.25 lengths away from him. Drawing the ace trap can see her racing in a handy position throughout.

Opawa Louise provides Roberts with sound podium claims, as her staying credentials over the longer journeys can never be doubted. She was sighted doing her best work at the business end when winding up eight lengths behind Space Boy.

There is 645m staying action (Race 5) earlier in the evening, where the in-form Fahey-trained Spread The Load will be sighted stepping away from the one-trap in the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Distance Feature.

It was good to see Rohan Bale returning to winning form last week for Craig Roberts, when he maintained a solid gallop to record his 38.23 645m win.

It is tremendous to see the current NZ Stayer of the Year title holder Goldstar Carlito back racing, and his conditioner Riley Evans informs us that his star has come through his 8 February resuming 645m task in fine fettle.

Another meeting highlight on the strong premier meeting support card is the return to Addington of the recent Auckland Cup winner Blazin’ Master for the Cole team in the Rose & Thistle C5 Feature over 520m (Race 9).

The event also features the repeat clash between Talbingo Bale (Roberts) and the current NZ Greyhound of the Year Opawa Superstar (Faheys).

It was Talbingo Bale who stylishly returned to winning form, when he strongly ran down Opawa Superstar to clinch his 1.75 length 30.06 520m last start win.


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 21 February 2024

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