The first of the two group one races at Manukau today is the Railway Sprint. Like its racing equivalent at Ellerslie, this race is for bragging rights over the short distance.
The Manuakau sprint distance (318m) is one of the fairest tracks in the current.
While there is a slight advantage to the inside box – no surprises there – the third most successful alley is a box 4 which is traditionally seen as a “squeeze” box.
In fact the spread is pretty narrow with the box 1 being the most successful at 15% and box 6 the least at 10%. Statistically, this is still significant but if a dog is good enough, the box draw won’t be the influence we have seen on other courses.
In run position
“In run position” is just a fancy way of saying where each runner ends up at the first bend.
In greyhound racing, being in front is generally a distinct advantage as it means the leading dogs avoid jostling and bumping. The leaders can just focus on trying to catch the lure.
At Manukau, 46% of winners will be the leader at the first bend. Just over 80% of winners will be in the first three. So finding the dogs that are likely to lead or be on the pace can be the key to finding the likely winner.
The speed map shows two dogs have consistently shown early speed – Sheza Rippa (2) and Danny Dee (6). The next line shows Mrs Brown’s Girl (4) and Rosa Tee (5) pushing up in midfield and possibly Vikings (1) along the rail.
At the other end of the spectrum, Obstinatus (8) is a noted back marker while Alex Attack (3) also maps to get back. Interestingly, both these runners are currently rated C4 and are competing with the big guns.
The bookies have Sheza Rippa and Danny Dee as the two favourites. The speed map suggests that they look likely to set the early pace.
It’s really hard to go past the two favourites in this race, especially Sheza Rippa.
She’s drawn to have all favours – not only does she have early speed from box 2 but Vikings in box 1 is new to sprint racing and doesn’t seem to have the same lightning acceleration. Sheza Rippa’s recent effort at Addington where she was literally ankle tapped but was still able to turn on the turbos a second time was always unbelievable.
Danny Dee has been doing the job and has the ability to win. The major disadvantage is that he’s drawn out in box 6 but he has a solid record from the middle boxes.
Vikings is the third favourite and is in a group one final at just his fourth sprint attempt. The start will be key – if there’s a clean start and the speedsters are on their game, he maps to get crossed and would need luck to win from there. However, given his form over middle distance, we know he will be powering home at the end if he can get the run.
My value runner to place is Mrs Brown’s Girl. Since she made the move across the Tasman, she’s had 13 starts at Manukau for not a single win. On the other hand, she’s been placed 10 times, all in C5 races. Her times have been just as consistent – since her 4th start in NZ, she’s never rated below 50. She’s not the strongest at the finish but she knows this track, has early box speed, and maps to be in it at the start. At $3.40FF for a place she’s offering a bit of value.