DUKE OF EDINBURGH Silver Collar (G1), 779m, Manukau
Sunday, 10 June 2018
It’s one of the highlight of the greyhound season with the prestigious Silver Collar today at Manukau.
After the postponement last week and the worries about whether the heats would be run, it’s great that we have a competitive final with the top distance dogs lining up later today.
A tough race to analyse given the lack of data over the extreme distance because there’s so few races over 779m at Manukau. There’s really not enough data to help us draw any meaningful conclusion.
It’s easy to think that box speed is not important in extreme staying races.
Yet the stats continue to tell how important getting a good start is – nearly 50% of winners over this distance have been first or second going past the first marker. Perhaps the real issue is the difficulty of beating good dogs after a slow start.
Ring the Bell showed this in the heats, as he did last year, leading all the way. That takes any luck out of the race. As we’ve seen in a number of the feature middle distances, even with a strong closing sectional a leader who can get a break on the field is hard to peg back.
As the speed map shows, Ring the Bell maps to get all favours and with no speed on his inside looks to be the likely leader.
Dusty Gambler has showed reasonable speed from his starts in NZ but one possible flag is that he’s been drawn in the inside half of the boxes in all his races bar his last two. And in those two races he’s been 5th and 6th away. A slow start today will make it extremely hard.
The other dog likely to show up in the early rush is Trip to Eden who was on the pace for a long way in the heat going down by less than a length Dusty Gambler.
A great race with last year’s undisputed distance champion Ring The Bell up against up and coming stars.
Based on last week’s effort, it’s hard to go against Ring The Bell. He has the draw and the box speed to lead and if he can get to the rails first, then it will be tough for the rest to run him down. The box draw certainly helps.
Dusty Gambler was the favourite going into the heats. As we’ve noted below, there’s a possibility he may be a little slow away or at least not as quick as the map suggests. From the outside box, he may be able to avoid trouble but it also means he has 7 other runners to negotiate.
For exotics, Christiane Cyborg has shown up in recent distance finals but perhaps just a few lengths behind the top dogs over the extreme distance. In the heats, runners that put their hands (paws?) up including Argus Filch and Pirate’s Curse who both put in closing sectionals. However, as we noted, the race is run and won earlier in the event and while a strong closing sectional may look eye catching, a slow start will result in the same result.
Should be a great race. Lids are up at 3.59 pm.
A reminder that speed maps for all NZ greyhound races are available on the TAB app.