The red-hot favourite for the group one greyhound New Zealand Futurity Final ($30,000) at Wanganui’s Hatrick Raceway tomorrow night suffered an unexpected defeat in Dunedin a couple of starts ago.
Amberley-based trainer David Fahey explained:
“She was running third down the back straight and a seagull flew a metre in front of her and a couple of metres above her. She stopped, baulked and looked at it.”
“That’s one of only two times in New Zealand she’s ever been beaten,” Fahey said.
“In the end, while she made up heaps of ground, she was beaten by a length and a-half.”
Winsome Ashley has been to Wanganui twice for two wins. There was the 14-length win in the Wellington Cup a few months ago, and Monday’s Futurity heat win by one and three-quarters of a length over tomorrow’s race rival Porcelain Girl.
Overall, Winsome Ashley has had 24 starts for 20 wins and two places.
Numbered amongst her wins this season are the Wellington and Auckland Cups, the New Zealand Oaks, three other group ones, and the annual Christchurch-Adelaide Sister City Challenge.
She won that in Adelaide, at Angle Park. Another Fahey dog, Winsome Daisy, New Zealand racing’s biggest stake-earner, ran third. Her stake earnings are $112,000, including her Adelaide prizemoney. Winsome Daisy has won $142,000.
Tomorrow’s field was decided by Monday’s four heats at Hatrick Raceway, with the first two dogs in each heat making the cut.
“This race is probably the biggest of the group ones,” Fahey said. “There’s the Oaks and the Derby, but the Oaks is just for bitches and the Derby is just for dogs this has them both.”
Fahey says Winsome Ashley comes into the race “really good”.
“Her draw’s a wee bit tricky [No 7] though. She’s not the quickest beginner, but she’s a really strong finisher. If she gets handy, she’ll be too good.”
Fahey fancies his other dog McCracken and Craig Roberts’ Turbine Bale as the main dangers to Winsome Ashley. McCracken won one of Monday’s heats.
“He’s had a few injuries and hadn’t had a trial before that run. And Turbine Bale won the Derby this year.”
And the future for both Winsomes?
“There’s a race worth $250,000 at Addington in October.”
And that’s big money.
Courtesy : David Ogilvie, Wanganui Chronicle