THE Summer Puppy Classic is a group 3 event which is run at Nowra, also known as the Shoalhaven Greyhound Racing Club, on the South Coast of NSW.
The series has a $100 entry fee and is restricted to greyhounds whelped in January and June two years prior to the running of the event each year. So, for example, only greyhounds whelped between January and June 2014 are eligible for the series in 2016.
The race always attracts some good greyhounds and has unearthed some notable topline performers in recent years, with many of the greyhounds featuring on the winner’s dais going on to have highly successful careers on the racetrack.
Betting on the Group 3 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic
Because the series attracts hot youngsters to the south coast, there is always plenty of betting interest on the Nowra Summer Puppy Classic, with most of our recommended online bookmakers offering fixed odds betting throughout the series.
Odds for the final are normally available up to five days in advance, with bookies framing their markets soon after the semi-finals. The box draw for the decider plays a key role in the prices on offer about the finalists each year, with a poor alley normally resulting in bigger odds.
For punters who are looking for value, bookies such as Bet365 offer all-in betting for the winner of the final prior to the running of the heats and semi-finals respectively. You have to be skilled to be able to pick the winner up to two runs out from the final, however there are usually some big odds available for punters with a keen eye for ability.
History of the Summer Puppy Classic
The Summer Puppy Classic, run over 520m at the Shoalhaven Greyhound Club complex in Nowra, was accorded Group 3 status in 2003, just one year after its inauguration.
The first three runnings of the race all took place in January, but since 2005 the final has been held in March, April and/or May.
No trainer has been able to win the event more than once, but a couple have managed to snare the quinella, notably Ray Steele in 2009 with Tian Hao Lee defeating kennelmate and litter sister Tian Hao Miss and Jason Fletcher who watched as Fantastic Spiral downed kennelmate Fantastic Sid by three-quarters of a length in 2015. Fantastic Spiral ran 29.54 to establish a new race record.
Ruth Matic prepared two finalists for the 2009 running, scoring with Mountain Of Love while Precious Love finished sixth. The black dog sped over the course in a track record 29.71 and went on to win 28 (eight at Wentworth Park) of his 82 starts (with 33 placings). Mountain Of Love certainly liked Nowra, scoring four wins and one second from his only five trips to the south coast course.
The 2008 winner Black Warhorse went on to win 30 of his 60 race starts for trainer Noelene Walsh.
In 2013, Double Twist scored a hollow seven lengths victory in the final, running 29.65 to set a new race record. The Garry Edwards-trained black bitch went on to score 26 wins and 12 placings in her 46-start career, including 12 wins at Wentworth Park.
The race has not been kind to the distaff side of the gene pool with only Little Bit Shy (2005), Classy Love (2012) and Double Twist (2013) being winners. The other 10 winners at Group level being males.
As far as the box draw is concerned, boxes 3 and 8 have won three events apiece, boxes 1 and 4 have scored twice, while boxes 2, 5 and 7 have notched one victory each.
Nowra Summer Puppy Classic – the recent years
Most expected Sky Wave to make a mess of the 2018 field in the Puppy Classic and that’s exactly how it went. Jumping from box one the chaser trailed the black rug Styles at the halfway stage but the $1.60 favourite took the lead and streaked away to win by three and a half lengths.
In a wide open field it was Tiempo Dinero from the three box which did the business. Trailing long-time leader Tiny Terror – which pinged the lids – coming into the straight, the white rug made a late dive at the turn to hit the front and pull away late to score by three lengths.
Megsie Marble won the 2016 edition of the Summer Puppy Classic for trainer Mervyn Buckley. The brilliant bitch was dominant throughout the series, clocking sensational times in her heat and semi-final respectively.
Fantastic Spiral announced his arrival on the group stage with a sensational win in the 2016 Group 3 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic. The son of Spiral Nikita and Light Fantastic scored by three quarters on a length in 29.54, with the black dog going on to become a top class greyhound winning the 2015 Group 1 Dapto Megastar and the 2016 Group 2 Launceston Cup.
Another quality field took to the track for the 2014 Classic, with Stilton Blue coming out on top for trainer Phil Goodsell. The blue dog made the race a one act affair, taking home the $25,000 winner’s cheque by six lengths in a speedy 29.88.
Group 3 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic honour roll
2003 – Boonchu Boy
2004 – Fashion Thief
2005 – Little Bit Shy
2006 – Old Fifty Five
2007 – Mountain Of Love
2008 – Black Warhorse
2009 – Tian Hao Lee
2010 – Tasman Boy
2011 – Chenzhou Boy
2012 – Classy Love
2013 – Double Twist
2014 – Stilton Blue
2015 – Fantastic Spiral
2016 – Megsie Marble
2017 – Tiempo Dinero
2018 – Sky Wave