Yesterday afternoon, six spectacular heats were conducted for the 2013 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic. Now in its tenth year, the Group Three event is a restricted race for greyhounds whelped between the 1st January 2011 and the 30th June 2011 and carries with it the lucrative winners cheque of $25,000.
Over the past few years the Summer Puppy Classic has unearthed some of NSW’s most promising sprinters, with many of those who have not only won but made the final going on to become city winners and group finalists throughout their careers. Former winners of the prestigious series include Classy Love who took it out in 2012 running an airborne 29.75 seconds for the 520 metre trip, whilst in 2011 it was taken out by the Luke Azzopardi trained Chenzhou Boy, who went on to become a terrific money spinner, being multiple city winner and group finalist, winning a total of 19 races with 34 minor placing’s from 82 starts.
With such a star studded reputation, it was expected that 2013 would again introduce spectators to some outstanding young pups- and those who witnessed the heats yesterday were not disappointed.
The first heat went to the John Antonelli trained Rhonda Spirit, who was too strong for her field in 30.58 seconds. The pint sized black bitch began well from box two and managed to work her way to the front of the pack to win by one length on the line. The daughter of the on fire sire, Magic Sprite and She’s A Dainty, made it her fourth win from fifteen starts after previous victories at both Dapto and Gosford. Behind her in second place was the long odds shot Miss Thunder who was paying an enormous $34.10 for the win, whilst the raging favourite Disco Dave for champion mentor Andrea Dailly also made it through to the semi-final round, running third, two and a quarter lengths behind the winner.
Heat Two saw Antonelli qualify two runners into the semi-finals with a second member of the Magic Sprite x She’s A Dainty litter named Jonardo leading all the way in a red hot 29.91 seconds. The black chaser carried fantastic form into the race being a multiple city winner, and a semi-finalist in the Group 3 New Sensation Series. Beginning well from box three, the ultra-impressive young pup held off the Garry Edwards trained Double Twist who was very gallant in defeat by half a head on the line. Double Twist has a fantastic chance of bouncing back to the winners list in her semi-final, with the regally bred daughter of Where’s Pedro and super stayer Tifi, a winner of five of her eight race starts, including a best of the night 29.77 seconds at Dapto in January.
Also qualifying into the semi’s from heat two was the Sharron Webster trained Lagoon Eastwood who ran an honest race from the squeeze box in third position as well as Tiggerlong Gunna who was three and three quarters behind third for trainer Margaret Keys.
Heat Three was the beginning of yet another training double, as Llandilo mentor Jeff Crawford put the polish on rails runner Chandon Grove. The Bombastic Shiraz youngster began with the field and used the rails box to perfection scoring by half a length on the line in 30.30 seconds. The 26 kilogram lightweight is a winner of five of her ten starts with a further four minors to her name and looks to be a handy little sprinter in the making. Behind the winner in second place was Trewly Special pup Mellie Jayne, who ran an eye catching race after a slow getaway. Bradley Northfield’s beautifully bred chaser Bralyn Bop Bop rounded up the placing’s in third with the brindle son of Cosmic Rumble and Bralyn Maisie sure to improve for the semi-finals after his first run at the track yesterday.
Crawford’s second winner was from the same litter as his previous victor, with Kentucky Grove saluting in heat four. The black dog, owned by Crawford was having his eighth start in the heats and made it his second race success in what was yet another close win with only a neck between him and second. Interestingly enough, the chaser ran exactly the same time as his litter sister clocking a handy 30.30 seconds, with even their first sectionals of 4.46 seconds identical. Qualifying in second was yet another Bradley Northfield runner, with Bralyn Ryan running a nice race. The black dog has won four races from just twelve starts with a scorching 30.01 second victory at Gosford to his name and should not be forgotten in the semi-finals. The cleverly named Cough Drop also made it through to the second round after navigating his way through the field into third, whilst astute mentor John Carruthers got his charge Nimble Swip through as well, running fourth.
It would not be a group race without the presence of legendary trainer Graeme Bate, who took out the fifth heat with blueblood sprinter Luxurious. By Collision out of the prolific producer Paris St Germain, the promising young bitch triumphed over the Janel Erwin trained Ten Kashkows in a smart 30.36 seconds. Beginning well from box two, the two year old showed plenty of heart racing away to win by one length on the line. The win was the black dynamo’s tenth from 28 starts and with a further eleven placing’s to her name she is definitely one to watch for the future. Jeff Crawford qualified his third runner through to the semi- finals in heat five with Corona Grove a nose behind the second runner, whilst Yallah local Clifford Bell made it two starters in the semi’s for his kennel with Club Fifty Five slipping through in fourth position.
The final heat went the way of the Sharron Webster trained Crosby Stills who managed to overcome an awkward box four draw to triumph by half a head over Miss Kiss in 30.44 seconds. The son of Where’s Pedro was sent to the boxes as favourite and did not let his supporters down, coming back from only a moderate getaway to claim victory. Now with six wins from sixteen starts to his name including two Wentworth Park successes where he clocked 30.36 and 30.22 seconds respectively the black chaser looks a live chance in continuing his handy form in the semi-final.
With such quality and depth the 2013 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic looks an exciting race, with not just the heat winners, but many of the other qualifiers looking to have bright futures ahead of them. The semi-finals will be held on Sunday the 7th April, with all eye’s focused on the track to see who will qualify for the mouth-watering $25,000 to the winner final to be held on Sunday 14th April 2013.