Can Not As Promised do a Swayzee at Addington?

By Adam Hamilton

Will there be two successful Aussie raids at Addington in less than a month?

Swayzee set the tone with his powerhouse NZ Cup win on November 14, when he became just the second Aussie-trained pacer since My Lightning Blue in 1987 to win the iconic race.

Now top young trotter Not As Promised gets his turn.

His Queensland-based trainer Graham Dwyer already feels like a winner.

Dwyer has been in New Zealand since last Thursday with Not As Promised, who is one of the favourites for Sunday’s $110,000 Group 1 NZ Trotting Derby.

Not As Promised, already a winner of the Victoria Trotters’ Derby and Breeders Crown final at Group 1 level, has drawn wide on the front row (gate eight).

“All the thanks go to Tony Veivers, who owns the horse,” Dwyer said. “He’s bringing our dreams to life.

"Tony's got some well-documented health battles. He was given six months to live about two or three years ago, so he just said 'go for it' when we first talked about this trip. Most owners would be reluctant for you to travel two hours, let alone come here.

“It’s massive being over here, just incredible.

“The people we’ve met. I spent time with Tony Herlihy the other day and he’s always been an idol of mine.

“There’s so many others as well. Everyone has been so helpful, from ‘Bunty’ Hughes and others up in Auckland to Brent White, who we’re staying with down here in Christchurch.

“Ever since I first thought about bringing the horse across, everyone I’ve spoken to in NZ has done everything they can to help us.”

Not As Promised spent three days at Hughes’ stables before heading to Christchurch last Sunday.

“He’s handled it all well,” Dwyer said. “I thought he’d gone to a new level before the Breeders Crown (last start) and he’s at least at that level now. I’m really looking forward to the race.”

Dwyer isn’t fazed by a wide draw.

“I don’t stress about stuff like that. He’s out of trouble and he’s got the speed to work his way forward if that’s what Nathan (Dawson, driver) wants to do,” he said.

“I don’t really know the opposition that well, but you know NZ always has good young trotters.

“To be fair, I respect them all. We’re away, it’ll be a different pattern of racing and we may not have earned the respect here we did back home.”

Dwyer said the most exciting part of Not As Promised is that he remains untapped.

“Yes, we don’t know how good he actually is yet. He’s still raw and learning.

“Take the Breeders Crown win. He’d never run a 27sec quarter before that, but did it and handled it well.

“He also slackened-off at the top of the straight in the Crown when he had the horse outside him beaten and he hasn’t done that before. He got going again, but he switched on and off.

“I’m sure he’ll be competitive on Sunday, but we don’t have to win for the trip to be a success. Just competing over here and being part of it all is amazing.”

It’s a big call from Dawson, who is edging close to 400 wins for the season, to sacrifice driving at Saturday night's third night of the Inter Dominion heats to partner Not As Promised at Addington.

“I was never going to miss it. I’ve never been to NZ, let alone driving there,” he said.


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