Orca To Have A Whale Of A Time In Sandown Cup

STEVE Nagy is hoping Orca can deliver his biggest achievement in two decades of training when he lines up in a heat of the Sandown Cup Thursday.

Mick Floyd

12 May 2022

TRAINER Steve Nagy is hoping Orca can deliver his biggest achievement in two decades of greyhound training when he lines up in a heat of the Sandown Cup on Thursday.

Owned and bred by Nagy, the 31 month old Orca is already a veteran of 14 starts over the Sandown Cup distance, including the eight 715m events run at the track at city level. Only Venus Light – nine months his senior – has more experience over the track and distance.

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK THURSDAY NIGHT

It’s a remarkable achievement for a greyhound trainer Steve Nagy says didn’t always look like being a stayer. Orca won his maiden over 311m at Cranbourne in May 2021 and quickly stepped up in distance, thriving with each start over more ground.

“I just realised he can run 500m, then I realised he can run 600m, then 650m, and you could see it – he’s not puffing and he can run a bit more,” he said.

“I put him in the Bold Trease heats for his first 700m and he ran a good race, he ran third. He’s really good now.”

Orca won his first race over 715m two starts later and has been a feature at Sandown Park ever since. Since making his distance debut, his longest break between runs has been 14 days – and only because there were no races for him.

Nagy, a retired tiler, keeps his routine between runs simple and he believes it’s a big factor in Orca’s ability to back up each week. He also believes Orca still has improvement to come given he his relative youth.

“I walk him in the bush. I walked him today and yesterday – one hour I walked – but tomorrow might be a bit less (laughing).

“He was very young when I put him up in distance, but he was always OK. He’s stronger now – he can improve a bit more.”

Nagy concedes that Orca will need to be at his best to qualify for the $250,000 final on Thursday 19 May, saying series favourite Mepunga Ruby – who beat Orca in the group 1 Super Stayers at The Meadows in February – is the one to beat.

“Maybe he can run second because the favourite (Mepunga Ruby) has drawn 1. She’s going to be hard to beat, but I reckon he can run good. I reckon he can run second – I hope anyway.

“He may not be the fastest, but he’s a game dog – he doesn’t like to lose.”

The first of five Sandown Cup heats will be run at 7.10pm on Thursday 12 May.