Silver Collar Heats

Duke of Edinburgh Silver Collar time again

Let the royal rumble begin! It’s the SENZ Duke of Edinburgh Silver Collar time once again.

This is the Group 1 race where the winner earns the right to momentarily wear the solid silver collar donated by the late Prince Phillip. 

The race winner, along with their proud connections gets to be photograph with the Silver Collar – a moment they will cherish forever.

The road to glory for the 53rd running (34th at the Manukau Stadium) of the annual royal battle commences at the Manukau Stadium this Sunday afternoon. 

Two heats raced over the marathon 779m journey sees numerous outstanding stayers lining up – all vying for one of the eight-sought after final field positions for the following week’s (June 9) final.

 This year’s edition, which will be raced for an $80,000 stake, is shaping up as another cracking edition of the great race following a number of compelling recent staying races held in various parts of the country.

The Silver Collar was donated to the Auckland GRC after the Duke of Edinburgh commissioned the royal engravers, Bravingtons in London to craft the solid silver collar after he was gifted a greyhound following the 1970 royal visit of New Zealand. 

That greyhound raced under the appropriate name of Royal Commission and went on to win the Silver Collar himself (1972). He also added a second and a third placing in the great race when it was contested over 711m at the Auckland GRC’s Kumeu Raceway venue.

Former commentator and GRNZ Hall of Fame member Peter Earley has been an intricate part of the Silver Collar. He watched the inaugural running of the Silver Collar in 1971 (won by Sandy Shane) and he has called every Silver Collar from 1973 through to 2018. He injected tremendous excitement into the race through his commentaries.

“You lift yourself for the big ones – this is the biggest. The Silver Collar final is always exciting – you’re always waiting for things to happen at the finish. The race always changes dramatically over the final few metres,” commented Earley. He’s quite right, as each year the Silver Collar has been contested it has resulted in being a more than memorable race.

There is no question that off all the races on the national calendar, this is the one owners and trainers want to win the most. The Silver Collar is the crowning jewel of the Group 1 features. 

Nancy Cobain is regarded as the Queen of the Silver Collar, after having trained the winner of the great race on five occasions. 

There are now two Kings of the Silver Collar – Tivoli Tom (1992 & 1994) and more recently Ring The Bell (2017 & 2018) with the pair being the only dual Silver Collar winning stayers.. 

The outstanding Steve Clark prepared stayer Swift Fantasy enthralled 2010 patrons with her audacious last to first Silver Collar victory. She also added the ‘full set’, being the runner-up in 2011, then she finished third in the 2012 edition.

2024 SENZ Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar heat 1 (Race 7)

Drawing the one-trap is the Dave and Jean Fahey prepared Spread The Load who travels north after her recent Addington 645m races. She finished second in her only previous Manukau 779m race.

“She’s drawn where she wants to be and possibly she can lead them early from there. She has come through her recent races all good,” confirmed Dave Fahey.

Chief Dribble has recently set the Addington track alight with his latest 732m wins, which included a Group 2 victory. The Matt Roberts trained stayer has an abundance of early pace and he can make things look rather interesting for a long way in this heat from the two-trap.

Garry Cleeve prepared the outstanding stayer Know Keeper to win the 2022 final and he will be represented by two last start Addington 645m winners in this heat. Know Defence led all-the-way for his 37.81 win while his kennelmate Know Hurry produced a huge finish to run down Chief Dribble in 37.96.

Cambridge trainer Arch Lawrence is a renowned conditioner of staying greyhounds as seen by him mentoring Mr. Chino (2012), Shandell (2015) and Teemaria (2016) to win the editions. On this occasion he will line up the stylish last start Cambridge 37.71 650m winner Orson Blonde. This daughter of Shandell is bred to run out a strong 779m race.

Local trainer Rob Roper has taken over the mentoring duties of the Australian stayer Boom Lateral. He trialed over 318m in 18.74 and then was sighted delivering a bold 600m gallop at Manukau last Sunday.  

“He’s a naturally clean-winded dog who can run in the top four. I believe he’ll take a fair amount of improvement from Sunday’s race,” said Roper.

Boom Lateral was identified as a Silver Collar prospect by the former trainer of Ring The Bell, Gerry O’Keefe, who has made the trip across the Tasman to support the former Victorian stayer.

“I picked him out as a ready-made Silver Collar dog. His Aussie staying efforts were good enough to put him right into the standard required to race in the Silver Collar. I believe he will be awfully hard to beat throughout the series,” enthused O’Keefe. 

 Putaruru trainer Sam Lozell is returning with his Silver Collar finalist from last year Sweet Offer. He is proven over the 779m trip, which includes a 46.93 win. Lozell is seeking to emulate his grandfather, the late Max Mathews, who trained the 1995 winner Cutie’s Sister to victory. 

Lisa Cole is lining up Big Time Jaya in this heat and she travels north after she led home her Hatrick 755m rivals in 45.18 last Friday. Prior to that she ran a sound 2.5 length Cambridge 650m second to Orson Blonde.    

2024 SENZ Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar heat 2 (Race 8)

The second Silver Collar heat features the presence of two- Dave and Jean Fahey trained stayers. Opawa Gina contested last year’s Silver Collar final and she makes her return to Manukau after producing competitive recent Adding ton 732m and 645m races.

“She’s racing really solid and her draw (2) should see her getting the rail early from where she should race good,” confirmed Dave Fahey, who is looking to add to the Winsome Dosh (2008) and Nina’s Girl (2011) Silver Collar winners the couple have trained.

Kennelmate Blake is a relatively new addition to the staying ranks and arrives at Manukau after running three-consecutive Addington 645m fourths. “He’s racing all right and he’s a trackable stayer,” said Fahey.

Grande Vue Ace is a dual Group 1 winning stayer for her mentor Bob Pringle. She endured a completely luckless last start Addington 645m race and she returns north with a 46.26 Manukau winning 779m time. Her two Group 1 staying victories both came from trap-eight and she will be sighted wearing the pink racing vest on Sunday.

Trenzalore is a Group 2 747m winner for his local conditioner Rob Roper who caught the eye with his strong finishing burst along the rail when he landed his last start Cambridge 37.71 650m win. He will strip a fit dog for Sunday’s task.

“I’m really happy with him and his draw (4). He is likely to sit on the rail, waiting for a gap to open up and I’m reasonably confident he will go a good race,” said Roper. 

The proven stayer Know Valour will represent the Garry Cleeve kennels in this heat and he returns north after having delivered his last start Addington 37.54 645m win when he was sighted finishing strongly.  

Canterbury trainer Cullum Weir completed the preparation for his charge Opawa Dallas when sending him over the Addington 732m distance where he recorded 43.50 for his solo trial. Prior to that he finished strongly when securing his Addington 38.17 645m win. 

You Proof will take his place in this heat for Lisa Cole. He will be making his Manukau track debut race after he kicked on stoutly for his sound 1.75 length Hatrick 755m second last Friday.

Aramoho trainer Mark Goodier provided a huge upset in the 2019 Silver Collar heats when he produced Bigtime Chloe to win her heat, paying $76.90 on the win tote. He will be seeking a repeat dose with Bigtime Chloe’s son Reckless Eric who will make his Manukau track debut following his third and fourth placings in his recent Hatrick 755m assignments.

Bring it on!

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 31 May 2024

< Back