Kihael's Road To Distance Glory

KIM Hyde’s lightly-raced but promising staying prospect Kihael Road will face by far his biggest test to date in Thursday night’s Crocmedia NSW National Distance Championship Final at Wentworth Park.

Gerard Guthrie

8 August 2018

KIM Hyde’s lightly-raced but promising staying prospect Kihael Road will face by far his biggest test to date in Thursday night’s Crocmedia NSW National Distance Championship Final at Wentworth Park.

While he turned three in April, Kihael Road, a son of Oaks Road and Kihael Madam, has raced just 23 times, winning on 11 occasions, and only graduated to the staying ranks in July.

After winning two of his first three starts over Wentworth Park’s 720m course, clocking a fast 42.22 and 42.71, Lidsdale-based owner/trainer/breeder Kim Hyde threw Kihael Road in the deep end in last Saturday’s NSW National Distance heats, where he started at $4.60 from box four in the second of two qualifiers.

Kihael Road was slowly away and settled at the rear of the field, but improved steadily along the fence and ran on strongly in the home straight to finish a close second, beaten one length, to John Finn’s 42.22 winner Veloce Nero ($3.70 favourite).

Ebby Ripper ($4), which ran fifth to Victorian champion Fanta Bale in the 2017 Distance Grand Final at Albion Park, finished third.

“I’ve been very happy with his 700m runs,” Kim Hyde said.

“We knew he’d run 600, although 700 is a bit different.
But 600m races are few and far between so we stepped him up to 700 and after a couple of runs he went straight into the Nationals. The Nationals wasn’t a plan; it just came along at the right time.

“He’s always had the ability but he’s had a few problems. Late last year he burst a blood vessel in his back leg and it took forever and ever to get it right, It was a real nightmare but he’s over it now and I’m really happy with how he’s going.

“He just needs a bit of luck in his races and he also needs the fence! I think he’ll improve a bit with a couple of 700s under his belt, but I’m not saying that’s going to happen on Thursday night though, because he’s got a bad box (five) and it’s a very good race.”

Veteran mentor John Finn won both the NSW Distance heats, with Veloce Nero’s April ’16 Fernando Bale – Chica Destacada (both parents being National Sprint champions) litter sister Poco Dorado, the $1.60 favourite, taking out the opening run-off in 42.20, just .02 quicker than her sibling.

Poco Dorado ($3.20 favourite) and Veloce Nero ($3.40) head Ladbrokes’ market on Thursday’s $10,000 to-the-winner NSW Distance Final from boxes seven and one respectively, with Kihael Road a $7 chance from the five alley.

“I don’t think there’s much between them but Kihael Road is going to be midfield or worse and if they’re running 42.20 or better up front it’s going to be a battle to run them down,” Hyde offered candidly.

“The one thing I do know is that he will try his heart out. He always does.

“It would be a feather in his cap to represent NSW but those Victorians are going to be very hard to beat on their home turf. Whoever goes down to Melbourne, good luck!”

Hyde will be bringing both members of her two-greyhound racing kennel to Wentworth Park on Thursday, with Kihael Road’s litter brother Kihael Koalmina, the winner of 12 from 31, to exit box three in the opening event.

“That’s the whole team!” Hyde laughed.

“Neither of them have raced that often, which is a bit of a slack attack from the trainer! When you own them yourself, you don’t have to race them.

“If Kihael Koalmina begins he’s a chance in his race. He drew the one last Saturday and came out like a drunken sailor! He’s got to lead to win, so his chances will depend on the first ten metres.

“Kihael Road and Kihael Koalmina are brothers but they’re very different dogs. One can run all day and the other one struggles to get the 500.”

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