Scene Set For 50th Running Of Silver Collar

IT was back in 1970 when royalty became a part of NZ history - on Sunday the 50th edition of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar will be contested. 

Peter Fenemor

11 June 2021

IT was back in 1970 when royalty became an integral part of New Zealand greyhound history.

On Sunday the 50th edition of the prestigious $100,000 Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar will be contested.

The late Prince Phillip, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday last Thursday, commissioned and donated a solid silver collar in response to him being gifted a greyhound by the Auckland GRC during the 1970 royal tour of New Zealand. 

The Duke’s greyhound Royal Commission ran second in the in the inaugural 1971 running of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar.

She won the collar the following year, then finished third in the 1973 edition.

And so began an annual enthralling staying test with each running of the great race delivering an occasion that has transformed into a fascinating and colourful event over the years.

The key to success in Australasia’s longest greyhound race over 779m is who handles the Manukau Stadium seven-day gut buster back-up assignment.

There are three-conditioners with finalists on Sunday who have previously achieved that with the trio of trainers having done so on seven occasions between them.

Thrilling Amelia was the quickest qualifier from last Sunday’s pair of heats when clocking 46.86s.

Her mentor Karen Walsh is seeking her third Silver Collar and her charge has drawn nicely (for her racing style) out in the seven-trap.

Dave and Jean Fahey have also trained the winner of the great race twice. They have qualified two finalists here and both stayers can be expected to be further improved following their heat outings.

The former West Australian stayer Hairpin Trigger was specifically purchased for this event. She overcame traffic issues to book her final field position when finishing an eye-catching fourth in her heat. Drawing the two-trap is likely to aid her claims.

Student Loan is a proven, tough grinding stayer who will relish the back-up. He proved that when he strongly annexed the Group 1 NZ Stayers Cup (732m) at Addington. This bloke certainly won’t flinch at the business end of this decider.

Arch Lawrence has celebrated three Silver Collar victories, along with numerous minor placings with his home-bred stayers. On this occasion he is represented by Little Teegs who is related to Lawrence’s previous winners. She is another who can tough out the 779m trip.    

Off the others young trainer Dan Roberts applies the finishing touches to the upset 47.33s heat winner Claws In Leo. He led throughout when doing so and he is likely to have to apply those same tactics again.

The Gary and Sandra Fredrickson prepared Fine Intentions dueled for the greater part of her heat task with Thrilling Amelia. Likewise, her stakes claim is likely to rest with her racing handy to the pace. 

Pawnote: Legendary greyhound commentator Peter Earley has come out of retirement to call his 48th Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar final. He warmed up for Sunday by calling last week’s heats meeting. Earley always injects colour and excitement into his Silver Collar calls and this edition won’t be any different.

The Amazing Chase

The $50,000 Amazing Chase is the Kiwi version of the popular Sandown hosted Speed Star series. Qualifying was conducted at three venues with the quickest qualifiers converging at the Manukau Stadium on Sunday, squaring off in the four 527m two-dog match races.

Match 1 – 1 Pedro Lee v 2 It’s A Blaze

The electric 29.73s Addington 520m qualifier It’s A Blaze checked out the Manukau track for the first time last Sunday and he delivered a stunning 30.17s, 527m solo trial. It was his potent 14.52s run home time that suggests the NZ Derby winner Pedro Lee will be hard pressed to hold him out. 

Match 2 – 3 Opawa Travis v 4 Akashi Boy 

Strength at the business end of his assignments around this circuit is the biggest asset the locally prepared Opawa Travis brings into this event. The match race format is ideal for his racing style with his rival Akashi Boy having his first outing in the north after his smart 29.91s Hatrick 520m qualifying effort.     

Match 3 – 9 Money Spinner v 6 Tokyo Bird 

It’s an all-Canterbury based kennelmate match-up pairing here with both contenders having trialled at Manukau last Sunday in 30.93s and 30.73s respectively. Obviously both chasers are required to shave a few tenths of those times if they are going to feature in this event.    

Match 4 – 7 Federal Morgan v 8 Drink Shoeys 

This pairing is the match-up of the event with both protagonists owning sufficient paw-power to topple the other. Both contenders have performed with distinction at the elite level of racing. The outcome between these two-gun chasers could very well come down to who leads the other out.