Cindy Keeping Books Qld Berth In Chief Havoc

CINDY Keeping has earned her shot at the rich Queensland Carnival after an impressive victory in Sunday night’s Chief Havoc Cup at Gunnedah.

The Charmaine Roberts-trained Cindy Keeping has earned her shot at the rich Queensland Carnival after an impressive victory in Sunday night's time-honoured $40,000 Ladbrokes Chief Havoc Cup at Gunnedah.

Cindy Keeping was one of two runners in the final for the Dubbo-based Roberts, the other being her sister Camilla Keeping, and on the strength of her stunning, fastest heat performance a week ago, she was sent out a short-priced favourite despite the awkward box six draw.

It looked like it would bring Cindy Keeping undone as she wasn't the fastest away and was stuck in traffic and jostling going into the first turn, losing ground on the leaders including second elect Miss Zig Zag who strode to the front.

"It was a big jostle to the first turn and when she got shuffled back, I said we had no hope," Roberts conceded. "But one thing about her is that she's a good hard chaser."

Cindy Keeping was back to fourth giving the leader about six lengths heading into the back but she hooked wide and began that hard chasing.

By the top turn she had moved into second but was still giving Miss Zig Zag a few lengths swinging for home before powering to the lead and scoring by a length in 29.99s from Miss Zig Zag with Franky Bear getting third a further five lengths away.

"She went great. It was hard work, but yes she got there. It's fantastic, absolutely fantastic. She just obviously likes the place here," said Roberts.

"I think she's going go to Brisbane now. Shayne (Stiff, her partner) is going to take her to Brisbane on Wednesday, to race Thursday. I think there's some (Brisbane Cup) preludes up there and she's going good enough so she should go up there. She just broke 30s tonight but you know, it's freezing, and she went super, and it's really good to get the win in a race like this."

The win took Cindy Keeping's record to 10 wins and 12 placings from 27 starts and more than $82,000 in prizemoney.

The win is a special one for Stiff who revealed his family's affinity with the Gunnedah track and particularly Chief Havoc.

"It's a great track the Gunnedah track and the Chief Havoc Cup is a race Charmaine and I have had a few cracks at," Stiff said. "We've had a few in finals but never really got close until tonight. 

"My grandmother, Eliza Stiff, trained some good dogs including Tivoli Bush in the last 1960s who won 13 or 14 at Harold Park which was the record at the time, and we went to race meetings all over the country.

"I remember when I was a kid she said to me that she saw Chief Havoc race and he was better than Zoom Top. She loved Chief Havoc.

"I remember going to Gunnedah about 30 or 40 years ago and talking to the son of Chief Havoc's trainer Jack Millard about their dog. Everyone says he was just a freak of a dog."

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