Finalists from heats on 16/4. Includes $200 unplaced.
Prize money: $40000 / $8500 / $5500
The Ladbrokes Nowra Puppy Classic dates back to 2003 and is an event which a number of trainers on the NSW South Coast target each year.
The race has produced some smart winners in the past, notably Double Twist in 2013 winning by seven lengths and running 29.65s to set a new race record, Stilton Blue in 2014 and Sky Wave in 2018.
In 2019 it was a sentimental win Deb Coleman and her partner Rob Camilleri. Deb worked at Nowra for a long time and her children even used to go out holding the signs up in front of the dogs in feature races. In the 2019 Classic, her children Ricky and Kayla looked after Rob and Deb’s two finalists, Zipping Leroy and Zipping Norton. Zipping Leroy took out the event, in what was a very emotional night for all involved.
In 2020 Marie Burton's Supersound upset the David Smith-trained favourite, Five Second Rule to take out the Classic.
In a thrilling edition of the 2021 Classic, Donna Campbell's On The Rocks looked to have the race won in the shadows of the post but a dive from the Jodie Lord-trained Bandit Ned so that dog arrive in time for his second feature race win, following on from his success in the Magic Maiden at Wentworth Park.
2021 Nowra Puppy Classic -From left – On The Rocks (Donna Campbell) Glenn Midson Bandit Ned (Paul Mills- Lord Kennels) Overflow Lisa (Ricky Coleman- Camilleri Kennels)
Trainer Neville Brown has been chasing the Nowra Puppy Classic "pretty much since it started" and in 2022 - when the event had increased prizemoney from $25,000 to $40,000 to the winner - he finally gained success when My Mate Kate gave the trainer his biggest win since Tuiaki took out the Group 2 Peter Mosman Classic in 2010.
My Mate Kate was able to hold the lead from her box one draw while the favourite fastest heat winner from last week, Rio Bhodi, found trouble at the first turn.
Out of the back straight Flighty Fernando charged up to My Mate Kate, and taking the rails run on the home turn he looked set for victory. But My Mate Kate refused to be headed and held on for a half length win in 29.96s with Cumbria Days finishing third.
“She’s got a will to win this bitch and when things join her, she fights back. She’s done it a few times in her career and she kicked back and won in the final.
“I have been trying to win it for a long time. I think back in 2010 I was favourite with Tuiaki to win it but he ran fourth to Tasman Boy in the final.
“I have a lot of friends down at Nowra and like the people there, and the club does a great job.”