As reported here on Australian Racing Greyhound, and ridiculed by half-baked The Dogs greyhound writer Ben Damon; Nova Surf handed in a sub par performance tonight which saw her lose the 2009 Group 1 Laurels.
Easily the standout of the Laurels series, Nova Surf suffered a severe catching pen incident following her 29.74 semi final win and despite Darren McDonald’s confidence tonight that “it was only muscular soreness”, the injury clearly caused enough of a confidence or gait problem to see the flying New South Wales bitch run more than 5.5 lengths off her best to finish only third in the huge Group 1 final.
Beginning only average from her favoured box seven draw, Nova Surf struggled to make ground early and could go nowhere near her 5.09 personal best first sectional, struggling to keep up with Boozeroo who had begun well from box one running only 5.13 and leading the black speedster easily.
From there it was a procession as Nova Surf suffered from her week “on the lead” and under treatment and despite her best efforts she could make no impact on the leader and faded badly in the run home, getting easily run down for second by Mirella Bale and losing to a greyhound she beat easily the week prior in the semi finals.
Whether it was a confidence issue after her heavy knock the week prior, the lost fitness from being kept on the lead for a week, or whether she is just destined to never win a group race; Nova Surf recorded yet another group race placing against her name at $1.60 favourite, beaten four lengths.
As we said many times, Nova Surf could afford to lose three lengths and still win this unloseable final, but like the Liberal Party in the unloseable election, she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for a fourth time.
Losing not just three lengths from her best, Nova Surf managed to lose more than 5 lengths off her Sandown best to add a Group 1 Laurels third to her Group 1 Maturity Classic second, Group 1 Futurity third and Group 3 Maitland Gold Cup second.
Clearly affected by last week’s severe interference in the catching pen after she’d won the race easily, Nova Surf was well off her best tonight and is almost certainly destined to be one of our the best group race peformers in recent memory to never find the post in front when it mattered.