Group 2 Waikato Classic Headlines Cambridge Card

THE first premier New Zealand meeting for 2021 has attracted a 12 race card, spearheaded by the Group 2 Waikato Classic at Cambridge.

Peter Fenemor

12 January 2021

THE first premier New Zealand meeting for 2021 has attracted an attractive 12 race card, spearheaded by the Group 2 Waikato Classic this Thursday at Cambridge.

The meeting is the traditional Waikato Christmas – New Year feature which was deferred owing to the recently contained nationwide kennel cough outbreak.

Leading Canterbury conditioners Dave and Jean Fahey mentored Opawa Toddy (pictured) to victory in last year’s edition of this $20,000 457m event.

They travel north with two contenders led by their track debuting New Zealand Cup title holder Rock On John.


He has been assigned his first career trap-one draw.

“Yes, his draw is likely to suit him and the 457m trip is ideal,” suggested Dave Fahey who also advised that Rock On John has previously trialled at Cambridge. 

Not faring as well in the draw allocation is kennelmate Opawa Boys Paid which will exit from the five-trap after delivering a sound-track debut 457m third last Thursday.

“He’s going to need a fair bit of luck from that draw,” added Fahey, who is also returning the smart looking former Victorian chaser Nevada Phil which ran the hands off the clock when returning 25.37s for his NZ debut last Thursday.

Over the last decade local trainer Karen Walsh has produced the winner of this race on four occasions. Her kennel provides three runners for this edition.

All three are resuming from a spell however Walsh is renowned for having her charges prepared to deliver competitive fresh-up races.

Thrilling Izzy is provided with sound looking swooping claims from the eight-trap from where she has won both of her previous races from.

Litter sister Thrilling Neve jumps from her sisters immediate inner and she brings the sharp field best 25.32s winning 457m time into this feature.

Thrilling Hazard is a lightly raced chaser which faces a huge step in class for this assignment. He indicated that he has a bright future in front of him having clocked a handy 25.57s time in his only 457m outing around this spacious circuit.

Lisa Cole is venturing north with a huge team for the meeting and her husband Brendon is justifiably excited about the career prospects surrounding Big Time Kaylee who has won six of her seven race day outings.

“She has always shown us immense potential which she is delivering on despite having an interrupted introduction to racing,” advised Cole.

He is also rapt with the two-trap draw their other contender Murmur receives.

“He’s a very good hard finishing dog who has drawn to take an early sit on the rail and then bring it home strongly,” stated Cole.   

The locally based trainer Pete Ferguson has accepted with the pacey Nangar Hurricane – it is essential that he uses his early pace when he hops away from trap-seven.  

It is a strong support card with highlights including the running of the $10,000 Waikato Cup. Rivalries (25.62s) for Phil Green and the Cole prepared Jilliby Litsa (25.75s) were the two 457m heat winners.

There is no peer as a breeder, owner and trainer of Cambridge staying canine athletes than Arch Lawrence. 

The locally based mentor produced a pair of his home bred stayers Little Teegs (43.15s) and Baileys Nice (43.33s) to stylishly win the two 747m heats for the $9,000 Thrilling Brat Distance feature.