By Isaac Murphy
Trainer George 'The Good Doctor' Clegg hopes it's lucky Number 7 yet again for Big Bad Bob in tonight's Middle Distance Challenge Final (600m) at Albion Park.
Big Bad Bob announced himself as a serious threat to his rivals in last week’s heat’s winning with relative ease to qualify fastest in 34.57sec from Box 1.
It was the G3 Townsville Cup winner’s first win from nine tries at the track and trip with a litany of bad boxes spoiling his previous chances.
Big Bad Bob has drawn Box 7 tonight; one he and Clegg have become all-too familiar with in finals.
“He had the seven for The John Stollery, he won that, the Townsville cup, he won that, and he’s run big races on the other occasions as well, so I’m hopeful the trend continues,” Clegg said.
“We’re always running for luck, he’ll probably come out in the second half of the field and be angling for the fence, if he can get there he’ll be fine if not he could be in a bit of trouble.
“Maurice Minor has come up with the cherry (Box 1) and he historically thrives off the inside box.
“I think Maurice Minor’s biggest worry is Del Rey drawn alongside him, if he jumps the way he normally does he could prove a bit of a problem for him and give us a chance to settle a bit closer.”
Clegg said he was rapt to finally see his charge get a cosy run from the red last week.
“His run last week was nothing sort of spectacular I thought, he’s racing in fine fettle,” Clegg said
“I’ve always maintained that only good dogs break thirty-five and that was the benchmark for him, so to see him go 34.57 seconds I was really taken aback, it was a pleasant surprise.”
Clegg has prescribed a double-dose of Sunday straight-track racing at Capalaba over the past fortnight, which could prove to be the winning formula.
“Before the Capalaba Meet started on Sunday’s I used to trial him on Sunday’s, so now I can use it as a conditioning run,” Clegg said.
“He went up the straight at Capalaba on Sunday and he’s not a sprinter but was god unlucky not to win that.
“He was stone motherless last after the jump and worked his way through the fired and hit the line really strong, he only really reaches full throttle in that last five of ten metres there.”
While Clegg is enjoying Big Bad Bob’s short-course form he has he sites firmly set on the staying trips.
“There’s a couple of 600m features coming up and The Queensland Cup is in January,” Clegg said.
“I’ve decided to stay at the distance now and not take him back to the 520 metres, I’m committed to make him a genuine stayer and wouldn’t rule out the 710m trip if he keeps going strong.
“He’s got a fabulous nature. He’s happiest dog in Queensland. When we’re at home he’s wagging his tail, on the way to the boxes wagging his tail, he’s just a treat to have about to the kennel,” Clegg said.
“Whenever he tells us he’s had enough he’ll have a home for life with us, he’s given me that many thrills.”