Foxton chaser in tough field

By Peter Fenemor

The burden of training the only central districts greyhound in tonight's $21,000 Opawa Racing Wellington Cup final lies firmly with Foxton trainers Paul Freeman and Angela Turnwald.

The partners advanced Ate To Much through to the Group 1 event after five competitive 520m heats at the Hatrick Raceway last Friday.

Two other chasers from the region, Bigtime Kinvara and Chainsaw Pete, form the reserves bench.

"Obviously it is a tough field, but we are in there with a chance, especially after he drew the two trap," commented Freeman about his charge who won the Wanganui Derby on this track earlier this season.

"If he can hunt out the rail during the early rush and others find early trouble, then he's strong enough to make his presence felt."

The winners of those five heats came from just two kennels.

The potent Dave and Jean Fahey partnership won three of them as they seek to defend the cup after having trained Know Peace to victory last year.

Pretty Good is in sublime form and he stylishly won his heat in 29.81 seconds. Jinjarango was bold in delivering his 30.03s heat win, while NZ Cup winner White Air led throughout for his 30.12s heat victory.

"Pretty Good can hop away smartly and he can lead them all-the-way by doing so," said Dave Fahey. "Jinjarango has to be handy to the pace when racing into the first turn he will keep pushing forward if doing so.

"White Air is nicely drawn out in the eight-trap, from where he can swoop around the outer," commented Fahey.

"All three of them have pleased us with their work this week."

Northern trainer Steve Clark treks south optimistic that either of his heat winners can secure the Cup for him.

Riley's Mate produced the swiftest heat time when he delivered a slick 29.68s. And kennelmate Piggy Back easily handled his first open class assignment by turning in a strong 29.82s heat win.

"If Riley's Mate can find the early race lead like last week, then he's strong enough to lead throughout," said Clark. "I expect a competitive race from Piggy Back if he's positioned close to race lead rounding the first turn.

"He must get under way smartly from the seven trap.

"Both of them have worked up huge during the week I'm rapt with them," Clark added.

Another northerner Kiki Rhode holds upset claims in the Cup after she drew ideally in the one-trap for her Te Awamutu based trainers, Wayne and Tracy Steele.

She gamely tracked the pace-making Riley's Mate throughout in her heat. From her kind draw she is likely to receive an economical passage along the rail.

The claims that the remaining finalist owns virtually evaporated after the noted Canterbury slow starter Know Class, trained by Gary Cleeve, was allocated the lousy five trap to exit from.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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