New Zealand import Big Daddy gets breakthrough Australian win at Shepparton

The -trained Big Daddy powers to the lead at Shepparton to win his first Australian greyhound race.

There has been plenty of talk the last few weeks about New Zealand-import , especially after his flying Albion Park Brisbane Cup Prelude win last week; but on Monday at Shepparton, the second of the two Kiwi-imports stamped himself as an Australian winner in a best-of-night performance.

Owned and formerly trained in the same interests in NZ as Postman Pat, Big Daddy was also sent to Australia in March 2023 with high hopes.

Big Daddy's Kiwi trainer Tony Hart said at the time that “It will be new to them but they are both sensational chasers.

“They'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

“Both dogs have big followings so it'll create a lot of interest both in Australia and back here in New Zealand,” Hart said

While Postman Pat was sent to to be trained, Big Daddy was sent to fellow Victorian greyhound trainer Anthony Azzopardi.

Postman Pat has taken all before him in Australia, running several near track record races, before dominating the last of the 2023 Brisbane Cup Prelude races last week.

Postman Pat will start a very firm ‘all-in' greyhound betting favourite to win the $650,000 to-the-winner 2023 Group 1 Brisbane Cup this week in the heats, when he aims to win his seventh race on Australian soil from seven race starts.

While Postman Pat has been creating headlines, Big Daddy was set for his debut at Sandown, coming off a handy 22.95 handslip trial at the track.

At the time Azzopardi said he was very happy with the greyhound's form heading in to his first Australian start.

“I'm really happy with that, the most satisfying thing is that he set a good early section and ran home just as well,” said Azzopardi.

Big Daddy was unable to offset the box five draw on debut, going on to finish third, beaten 1.76 lengths, running 29.85; after getting no peace in the run to the first corner.

Sandown Grade 5 Heat (515m) May 21 2023 – Dewana Scotch (Big Daddy third)

It would be another month until Azzopardi produced Big Daddy again, sending the owned greyhound to for a Mixed 4th/5th Grade event over 450m.

Australian greyhound bookmakers took little chances with the son of and , sending him out a +190 second favourite behind nine-time winner Vaucluse Bale.

Fractionally tardy away from the boxes again, Big Daddy lost no admirers taking the race to leader Vaucluse Bale for the duration of the trip; but narrowly went down again by 0.87 of a length in 25.20.

Ballarat 4/5 Grade (450m) June 21 2023 – Vaucluse Bale (Big Daddy second)

Heading to Monday's Shepparton races, Big Daddy was yet to win on Australian soil, but had also not yet been unplaced despite average starts in both races.

On the five day back-up, Big Daddy was again tasked with overcoming a box five draw in the Grade 5 450m race, but greyhound betting sites were very on the Kiwi, sending him out a long odds-on -200 favourite.

Again Big Daddy was not the best to begin, jumping third away from the boxes, but quickly accelerated to take control of the race by the first corner; before running away to win by more than four lengths in 24.89.

Shepparton Grade 5 (450m) June 26 2023 – Big Daddy (24.89) T: Anthony Azzopardi

Big Daddy has now run first, second, and third in three Australian starts.

He has won 10 races from 17 starts, with a further four placings, and earned AUD $25,875.

While Big Daddy's breakthrough win in 25.89 is just over three lengths slower than Postman Pat's 24.66 Shepparton winning effort, there is considerable room for improvement, particularly with his race starts.

Postman Pat has been blessed by box draws in his seven Australian draws so far; having draw box one twice, box three twice, box seven twice, and box eight once.

By comparison Big Daddy has been dealt a rough deal by the random box draws, drawing box five twice, and box seven at his only other start.

The NZ-import is sure to take benefit from Monday's confidence building win, and with better luck in box draws, and slightly better starts, he will surely be competitive in good quality black-type races in Australia.

Big Daddy's former NZ trainer Tony Hart considered him the better of the two imported greyhounds around two turns saying “Big Daddy is more suited to the two-turn tracks”.

That being the case, the astute Azzopardi will no doubt be plotting a return to metropolitan greyhound racing with Big Daddy, after a few more lower grade provincial wins.

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