Waterloo Cup Heats

The chase for final field positions for New Zealand’s oldest racing trophy, the Waterloo Cup, which was first conducted as a coursing event in 1878, will be contested during three meetings over the later-half of this week.

It is a unique format for this time honoured event which holds Group 1 status. Heats will be decided at the Addington Raceway (520m - Thursday), Hatrick Raceway (520m - Friday) and at the Manukau Stadium (527m - Sunday). The first three greyhounds to finish in the Addington and Manukau heats will be joined by the top two Hatrick for the $30,000 June 9 Auckland GRC hosted final.

With such a long and rich history, there certainly have been some intriguing Waterloo Cup incidents occurring over the years. Here’s a look at a couple of “colourful sides” from past Waterloo Cups when it was a coursing event.

In 1888 the Auckland dog Sailor Boy was sent to Dunedin (until 1916 the Waterloo Cup was exclusively contested in the South Island). After winning the title, the following year he represented New Zealand in Melbourne where he contested the Victoria Waterloo Cup. After making the quarter finals (from a field of 64) Sailor Boy was sensationally dog napped, his owner beaten up, and the dog was never recovered.

The Waterloo Cup was reinstated in 1971 as a greyhound race, chasing the lure in the form of racing as we know in the code today. Originally it was conducted at Auckland’s Kumeu Raceway over 325 yards.

Addington Waterloo Cup heat

Leading local conditioners Dave and Jean Fahey hold a strong grip on this 520m Waterloo Cup heat with three contenders.
Heading their charge is the multiple Group race winner Opawa Hugo, who warmed up for this event when delivering his stunning 29.94 520m win last Thursday.
The promising Opawa Archer secured his open class racing stripes when he delivered his smart 29.99 C4 520m win last week.

Nail It has been a competitive chaser for quite a while. He didn’t receive any racing favours in last week’s race won by Opawa Hugo. Prior to that he led home the chase after the
freewheeling Opawa Hugo when running a 3.75 length second to him.

“Yes, that was a really good, strong effort by Opawa Hugo, especially as he and Opawa Kyle jostled on the first turn. Opawa Archer is getting stronger and has lots of early pace. He
possibly could lead them early. Nail It keeps on going good honest races and he’s a place chance. All three are all good,” advised Dave Fahey.

Who’s Jealous has been delivering competitive recent 520m races, filling minor placings behind a number of classy greyhounds for his conditioner Garry Cleeve. He has drawn to get
an early drag into the race from Opawa Hugo from his eight-trap draw.

Kennelmate Know Expense was denied a clear first turn racing passage when he resumed from a five-month spell last week. He would have derived benefit from that outing.
Craig Roberts presented Pryor Bale to race over 645m on Monday where he was sighted finishing solidly for his third placing. He must push forward along the rail during the early
rush for positions from his trap-one draw.

The Howard Anderton prepared Brave Ruler brings a current C4 grading into this heat. The owner of the field best 29.72 520m winning time was bold when delivering his 2.3 length
520m C4 third to Opawa Archer last Thursday.

Hatrick Waterloo Cup heat

The nation’s leading conditioner Lisa Cole is assured of being represented by at least two-Waterloo Cup finalists owing to the powerful kennel accepting with all six Hatrick Waterloo
Cup 520m heat runners.

Her charge is spearheaded by the slick greyhound Federal Infrared who has spent the last couple of Sunday’s racing at Manukau, which includes her 30.67 527m win two-weeks ago.
Securing the $3,300 winning stake in Friday’s heat will see Federal Infrared, who starts the heat as the winner of $375,423, overtake Little Mother’s career stake earnings which stands
at $377,751.

However, included in Federal Infrared’s current career stakes tally is AUD$1,200 which she obviously won prior to crossing the Tasman.

Little Mother won AUD$80 prior to her entering the Cole kennels, therefore in terms of New Zealand stakes won, a win by Federal Infrared on Friday will leave her $148 short of
surpassing Little Mother’s New Zealand stake earning record.

Federal Infrared will be sighted wearing the red racing vest on Friday and Brendon Cole says her draw will suit her better racing back at Hatrick “I’m not sure about her at Manukau as she
dives straight down to the rail from the one up there. I’m more confident about her back at Hatrick. She’s 100 percent going into Friday.”
The only other C5 assessed greyhound in the heat is Big Time Sally who is returning from a five-month spell. “She’s back from an injury spell and we’ll just have to see how she goes,”
said Cole.

Adding the intrigue factor into this heat is the presence of the former Victorian trained greyhound Johnny Football. He arrived into the Cole kennels as a C1 graded chaser, however
he advanced to C2 via his effortless 25.83 Manawatu 457m NZ debut win. He was sighted trialling nicely over 527m at Manukau last Sunday.
“He’s a dog with immense ability who is super strong. He will be quickly going places up the grades,” suggested Cole.

The other three-Cole prepared heat contenders all hold current C4 grades. Brockie’s Luck brings in a tidy 29.88 520m best into the race.

“He races well although his box manners are not that good. Big Time Bernie didn’t pull up well after a lead in hand-slip and at this stage I’m not sure about Big Time Axel after
his Tuesday race,” advised Cole.

Manukau Waterloo Cup heat

There will be plenty of interest in the strong looking Auckland GRC hosted 527m Waterloo Cup heat with the Lisa Cole prepared classy greyhound He’s All Go stepping from the one-trap.

He returns to Manukau following his outstanding pair of Cambridge 457m and Hatrick 520m wins. The multiple Group race winner has won both of his previous Manukau 527m races.
“I’m confident he’ll hold a straight line from the start and if he gets the right run he’ll make it interesting. He’s a high speed dog who can run out his race strongly,” said Brendon Cole.
Kennelmate Blazin’ Master is also in solid form. The current Auckland Cup title holder will be sighted wearing the blue vest.

“It doesn’t matter where he races as he’s such a professional greyhound. I expect a top race by him,” suggested Cole.
The depth within the field is clearly illustrated with the presence of the Cole prepared 2023 Auckland Cup winner Space Boy. He was bold when he chased home race rival Opawa Tails here last Sunday for his three-quarter length second.

“He was going up to win last Sunday when he got held up on the home turn. He races Manukau well and he has strength on his side,” stated Cole.
Dave and Jean Fahey travel north for this heat with two-contenders. Opawa Susan cruised through her last start Addington 520m C4 race, clocking 30.19.

Kennelmate Opawa Kyle rounded off his preparation for this event when he was dive-bombed within the shadows of the finishing line 
by Opawa Hugo in last week’s Addington 520m C5 event.
“Opawa Susan is racing really well and her draw (3) suits her. I have been pleased with Opawa Kyle, who is a strong dog and drawing out in trap-eight is okay for him. Both of them are ready to go on Sunday,” confirmed Dave Fahey.

Opawa Tails impressed in the strong manner that he finished off his 527m race last Sunday when he put in the telling late bounds for his 30.69 C4/5 527m win. He raced from the six-
trap then and his trainer Corey Steele will load him away into the same trap on Sunday. Wayne and Tracey Steele are returning to Manukau with Opawa Sandy who has delivered an
ultra-consistent series of recent Cambridge C4/5 457m races. She will exit from the two-trap from where she has won both of her previous races from.

The drawn field is completed by Portland Jessie who is locally prepared from the current inform kennels operated by sisters Lisa and Tracey Craik. She will be wearing the black racing vest for the first time and she has early pace which is an asset that she must use.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 29 May 2024

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