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Diva Seeks Cup Consolation

By Isaac Murphy

Nangar Diva has enjoyed a stellar Winter Carnival at Albion Park for trainer Dennis Barnes and the Brisbane Cup placed bitch looks well placed in this Thursday night’s Best 8.

“I’d prefer her closer to the rail (7), but she’s got the luxury of a vacant box inside her and hopefully she can work her way across somewhere near the fence on the first turn,” Barnes said.

“The race is a little hard to judge I still don’t know the tendencies of the Queensland dogs all that well, I know Regal Recall has a good reputation and I hear Wise Misty is fast away and she’s drawn the one.”

“With that in mind she’ll have to be on her game to win, but the way she’s been travelling I wouldn’t back against her.”

Barnes is understandably bullish about Nangar Diva’s chances with her extended stay at Albion Park including two wins a Flying Amy Classic Final and a Group One Brisbane Cup placing.

“We were up holidaying at Grafton from our place at Cudal and I thought while we were up closer to Albion Park why not bring her up for a look at the track,” Barnes said.

“It worked out a treat I didn’t even know the Flying Amy Classic was on until a few people at the track told me about it and once she performed well there we thought why not have a crack at the Brisbane Cup.”

“Our one-week holiday suddenly turned into six weeks and with the success we’ve had we’re going to make sure we bring Nangar Diva and a few others up at Albion Park a couple of times a year.”

Nagar Diva is about to hit her prime at two and a half years old and while she’s always shown ability in New South Wales Barnes believes the Brisbane Winter Carnival may be the making of her.

“She’s run some terrific times at Wentworth Park, she’s gone as low as 29.55 there one night but has never been able to put in together in a big race,” he said.

“You won’t find many better dogs to race again than the ones she met in the Brisbane Cup and she held her own from a tough draw in the six, running into third behind the new track record holder (Sennachie) and Black Opium was a huge effort.”

“She’s shown she can mix it at Group One level, so we’ll be happy to do the travel with her from now on, with her first task being the Maturity down at the Meadows in a fortnight’s time.”

Barnes likes to keep his affairs in house and bred Nangar Diva himself out of Fabregas and Fancy Dancer and said the satisfaction of seeing one of your own compete at the highest level was second to none.

“I bred her myself, we only race our own bloodlines and it’s always rewarding when you get one like her that stands out from the pack,” he said.

“She’ll make a great brood bitch when her time comes, her mother Fancy Dancer has been a fantastic producer for us and with results like the one Nangar Diva produced in the Brisbane Cup it’ll only add to her value.”

Tomorrow night’s run will be Nangar Diva’s last North of the border for the immediate future, but Barnes said he is sure to be back with a bigger team next year after his experience.

“I can’t say enough about Queensland greyhound racing, it goes from the kennel staff, to the administration the bar staff, I’ve been made to feel so welcome,” he said.

“It’s really refreshing, even before the Cup last week one of the stewards came up to me with a wry grin and said how you going mate? You feeling nervous?.”

“I said mate I’m packing it, but it really calmed me down and it’s little interactions like that you just don’t find at other tracks.”