DESPITE shocking his trainer when taking out a heat of the Group 1 National Derby (520m) last weekend, Nangar Rock looms as one of the best local hopes in the $75,000-to-the-winner final at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Starting from box four at double figure odds in his qualifier, the son of Primo Uno and Fancy Liza exploded from the traps, blitzing his rivals by two-and-a-half lengths in a speedy 29.88.
Trained at Cudal, the victory thrilled trainer Dennis Barnes, who commented that Nangar Rock has always shown serious potential.
“I didn’t go into the race confident – I thought Paul’s dog (Falcon’s Fury) would be hard to beat so I would have been happy to run a place,” Barnes told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“To the dog’s credit he did everything right – I was as happy as Larry with the run.
“Now that he has had more 500m racing he seems to be getting much stronger which is what you like to see.
“He has always shown ability – he is a classy dog. We’ll find out just how classy he is this Saturday night.”
The victory gave Nangar Rock nine wins and four minor placings from just 18 starts, with the brindle powerhouse set to move into box five for the decider this weekend.
Whilst unsuitable for most, Barnes says he is happy with the box draw.
“I wouldn’t swap it for the one box,” he said.
“The middle draw doesn’t worry me because he always run in the middle of the track and when he has the inside he seems to step right.
“I was hoping for box five outwards – I would have preferred the eight – but I am happy enough with his draw.
“He seems to be putting it together out of the boxes now, so if he can come out the same as last week it is going to put him up near the lead and he will be right in it.”
It will be no easy assignment for Nangar Rock, taking on a sensational field including Group 1 Silver Chief Classic winner Lightning Frank (box four) and Gosford Cup finalist Black Hole Sun (box seven).
Barnes concedes the winner will have to do everything right to triumph in the final and says it would be an enormous buzz to score.
“Whoever leads will be hard to beat, but with that being said there are some backmarkers in this race who will be powering home over the top so the leader will have to be able to do it at both ends.
“Luck also comes into it – it doesn’t matter how good they are you always need luck in any race let alone a group final.
“It would be an unbelievable thrill to win – it would mean a lot to the whole family because we all do the dogs together.
“It is a real team effort.”
Group 1 National Derby – market
1 – Big Daddy Bee $11
2 – Duty Free $7.50
3 – Hit The Highway $5.50
4 – Lightning Frank $2.50
5 – Nangar Rock $4.20 with Crownbet
6 – Good Odds Bricky $31
7 – Black Hole Sun $6.50
8 – Dyna Boomer $10
1st Res – Nangar Bear $23
2nd Res – Agent Kade $51