While the group 1 racing for the other codes is very much on a back burner over the winter, the greyhounds continue to provide the top class racing.
Tonight, it’s the NZ Breeders Stakes over 520m at Hatrick Park in Whanganui.
As we noted in the past, there is a distinct bias towards box 1 – 20% of winners over 520m come from box 1 at Hatrick. There’s no particular bias elsewhere although boxes 2-4 have a slightly higher strike rate than the four outside boxes.
That of course assumes that the runners are boxed to make the most of any advantage. However, tonight we have a situation where it’s possible that the dogs drawn on the inside may look to move away from the rail.
It’s one of those box draws where no one has really been done a favour. Perhaps the key will be looking for runners who have the speed or box draw to avoid trouble at the start.
For 520m races at Hatrick, 40% of winners lead at the post the first time around with 62% of winners being in the first two. Conversely, just 15% of winners will be 5th or worse with a round to go.
These stats simply highlight the importance of getting away without trouble at the off.
The speed map highlights a couple of runners predicted to get away well. No Time Toulouse (3) is a noted pacemaker who has shown a lot more strength over the closing stages in recent races. Out wider, Bigtime Tears (7) is another with early speed. Bigtime Wendle in box 2 could also show up in the early rush but has a tendency to move out which could make it not only tough for her but also No Time Toulouse.
The favourite Bigtime Paddy is in the pink rug (8). He doesn’t have a great record from the outside boxes and would clearly appreciate being drawn in closer. However, if there is problems when the lids go up, he may avoid the worst of it out in box 8. The map also suggests he could quite possibly get a drag into the race on the back of Bigtime Tears.
At the other end of the spectrum, Idol Tom (6) is almost guaranteed to be last out and storm home. This is clearly an issue but in this case, if there’s trouble ahead, he may benefit if he has the time to negotiate the melee. He’s one that is bound to be running on at the end.
Bigtime Paddy (8) – Paddy is the class runner in the race who has been in outstanding form recently. The sectionals show he puts the pressure on in the middle part of the race. His closing sectionals are good without being great but generally when he wins it’s the pressure he puts on mid race that is the winning. If – and it is the big question – he can get away to a decent start, he has the proven class to win.
Bigtime Levi (1) – Levi has the advantage of the inside alley and has a pretty decent record in the red rug. The concern is that he maps to get behind a few which will make life tougher.
Bigtime Tears (7) – has the benefit of proven box speed which puts her in with a chance. As noted above the irony is that a clear get away by Bigtime Tears could provide Paddy with the drag into the race.
No Time Toulouse (3) – she’s my big value runner based purely on box speed. If she can avoid Bigtime Wendle on her insider, she is very likely to get to the rails and be on the early pace. Any trouble behind, plays into her hands. Worth noting from a similar draw 4 starts back, she beat Bigtime Tears fair and square over 520m here. Her best rating is not outstanding but if she can get a clear lead, then the time is secondary.