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Rasheda’s rollercoaster ride looking up for Apap

By Isaac Murphy

Rasheda at her best is something to behold, and it looked like a star was born when she ran 41.8 first try over the 710 metres as a two-year-old.

However, a litany of injuries and form slumps have left gun trainer Tony Apap with his work cut out to recapture her best, a journey that starts back over her staying trip this Thursday night.

“It’s been a pretty lean run for the kennel as a whole, every time you think one is about to return there’s a setback,” Apap said.

“It just happens sometimes in racing, you go through these troughs but hopefully Rasheda can kick start a good run on Thursday.

“All her trials and what she’s done at home have been good, her first run back over five hundred was a write off from a wide gate and we go straight up to the 710 this week feeling optimistic.

“In the past I’ve given her a couple of five hundreds and a six hundred before I get her back up over her right trip, but I know her well enough now there’s not much point mucking around.

“She’s a born stayer and I’m more than happy to get her over the 710 second up.”

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Rasheda’s rollercoaster continued earlier this year when she ran fourth in the Group 1 Gold Cup, but sustained a career threatening injury in the process.

“She tore her achilleas tendon when she finished fourth in the Group 1 Gold Cup final in January, and it’s been a long road back since then,” Apap said.

“We were working really hard on her all the way through and she just wasn’t responding to the treatment the way we wanted.

“I said to David (Brasch) her owner ‘do you want to retire her’ because I knew he wanted to breed with her.

“We decided to stick on and tried and few different things and she’s come good again, touch wood we see some of the old Rasheda Thursday night.”

Known for her spectacular finishes and often doing her best work into the catching pen, it’s a relief for Apap to get her back to her distance.

Although she has class on her grade five field, she hasn’t found her best in a while.

“As long as she can get around that first turn and position herself within striking distance, she’ll be coming home like she always does,” Apap said.

“The biggest thing with her has always been avoiding trouble, if she does that it’ll take her a long way - I’d love to see her find the fence too, that’s when she can really get motoring.

“You look at the field and think she’s got a few lengths on them, but she hasn’t run her best over the trip for some time so it’s going to be a test.”

All her trials and what she’s done at home have been good, her first run back over five hundred was a write off from a wide gate and we go straight up to the 710 this week feeling optimistic.

Apap said he and owner David Brasch had decided she would race out her career as a pure 710 metre bitch.

The challenge was getting her fitness to a competitive level, and the scheduling of more distance races helping her plight.

“We want to keep her solely over the 710 metres, the problem with that is getting the fitness in her legs to race in the top grade every week,” Apap said.

“It’s really good to see this week the club have put two races on with six dog fields when they could have just had the one race.

“You can get them to a point at home but there’s nothing like race fitness.

“You’ve got a good pool of dogs who want to be involved over the distance and I think that’s thanks to the scheduling with the three feature races over winter for the stayers.”

Apap is hoping his luck is about to turn and is bullish about Rasheda’s chances against any field as she works her way back to the peak.

“We’re hoping she’ll be there for all those races starting with the Dashing Corsair, which is over the 710 this year - she may still be a bit fresh for that but will relish the run,” Apap said.

“I’d love to see her get an invitation to the Super Stayers; her best is very good, and she’ll have to be if she gets a start in that race.

“Then you finish with the Queensland Cup in early July where if we can get her through an injury-free preparation, she should really be flying by then.”