Traralgon trainer Steve Nagy is hopeful staying surprise packet Orca’s magical run during the Australian Cup Carnival will continue at Saturday night’s Premier Racing meeting at The Meadows.
Hungarian-born Nagy, 62, has enjoyed the ride of his greyhound racing life over the last fortnight as home-bred Orca emerged as a serious player in the distance ranks in the Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers series (725m).
Orca gave Nagy his first G1 finalist when winning his Super Stayers heat at a massive $31 and then at $15 in last Saturday night’s final, he recovered from a poor start and interference to run second to star Mepunga Ruby, albeit nine lengths in arrears.
“He’s a very keen chaser and he’s just kept getting stronger and improving over more ground,” Nagy said.
“His heat win was a surprise. He was up against Gypsy Wyong and Mepunga Warrior, but unfortunately, they fell.
“I did have $10 each-way on him. He paid $9 for a place!
“When he missed the kick in the final and then got three or four checks, I thought it was all over, but he kept coming. I was very happy to run second!”
Orca, which has only won seven of his 34 starts but has 17 minor placings, had Box 2 in his last start G1 placing and has the same draw on Saturday in Race 8 at 8.47pm.
There’s no double figures in sight this week, with TAB marking Orca $3.30 second elect, behind $3 favourite Whodat Diva, while his opposition also includes Super Stayers finalists Flying Lantern ($4) and Beck’s Monelli ($8.50).
WATCH: ORCA (2) overcame a poor start and a chequered passage to run a gallant second to MEPUNGA RUBY (4) in the Group 1 Super Stayers at The Meadows on Australian Cup night.
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“It’s like another (Super Stayers) heat,” said Nagy.
“He’s a young dog and is improving all the time, so hopefully he’ll run well again.
“I’d like to have a go at more big races, but the next one is in Perth (G1 Galaxy) and that’s too far for me!”
After moving to Australia from Hungary 36 years ago, Nagy caught the greyhound racing bug after co-owning a dog with soccer teammate Jimmy Carlin, who’d raced greyhounds in England.
Nagy bought Orca’s mother, Mignon, a daughter of three-time G1 winner and 2011 Sandown Cup hero Bobby Boucheau, hence the staying genes, as a pup, with the October ’19 litter to former iron sprinter Stagger her first.
“Mignon could run the distance too, but she came on season every six months, so I couldn’t get her fit,” Nagy explained.
“She was by Bobby Boucheau, so that must be where it comes from.
“She’s had a second litter to Houdini Boy, another distance dog, that’s seven months old.
“I’ve only bred about 12 litters in the last 20 years and I don’t go to the big sires. I’ve mostly only had country dogs – Orca was the first winner I’ve had at Sandown – but this litter is going well.
“There was eight in the litter; I’ve got four, my son Jordan, who’s 28 now, but has been helping me with the greyhounds since he was 10, has two, and Joseph Sultana has two.
“Orca is the best in the litter, but another one I have called Rapid Voyage has won his last two starts at Traralgon and Jordan has Billy Bob Jordan, which has already won $15,000.”
Steve Nagy pictured with Orca after his upset G1 Super Stayers heat victory.