By Isaac Murphy
Last December Rasheda was finishing down the track in a Fifth Grade Final, with just three wins to her name the twenty-one-month-old had shown flashes of potential over the 520 metres, but little did we know four months later the Tony Apap trained bitch would be lining up over the 710 metres looking to go back to back after a brilliant 41.83 first up at the track and trip.
Apap knew he had a potential star, comparing Rasheda to his champion stayer Jalapeno before she’d even run a 600-metre race and was thankful he’d managed to get the bitch to where she is today.
“It was a big relief to get her through her 520 metre races, the worry was with her getting so far back she wasn’t gets that chance to chase, which can really dent their confidence,” Apap said.
“Her box manners have definitely improved since we got her up to the 600 metres, it’s a tough start on the corner and she’s done well to land close enough to earn a couple of wins at the distance.”
“She’s an out and out stayer though and even when she looked like she’d given them too much of a start in her 710 debut once she picked up and chased it was pretty impressive.”
Thursday nights 710 metre contest shapes as an intriguing battle with the untested but well credentialled Group One Winner Bago Bye Bye stepping up to the trip off a fourth in The Australian Cup.
“He’s got a big motor that dog, while he’s first up at the distance he’ll probably be in front of us in the run and if we give him too much of a start he’ll be hard to catch,” Apap said.
“It’s a big tick for us to be back over the 710, she’s jumping better and with her chasing ability will always give herself a chance with an ounce of luck.”
“She’s getting fitter and stronger every week, I always look for them to improve on their first up go at a new distance, if things go her way she’ll be hard to beat.”
While Thursday night is another important step in her maturation Apap is most concerned with ironing out her flaws before tackling the Winter Carnival Group staying races.
“The biggest thing I’m trying to work on is the flat spots she finds in her races, if she gets pocketed away she has to propensity to switch off before she starts chasing again,” he said.
“That’s definitely cost her in a couple of her 600 metre races, where she’s doing her best work in the last fifty metres and past the post.”
“The plan is to get a few more 700 metre races under her belt and have her ready to go for Winter Chase Final and the Gold Chase Final, it’s my job to get her there in the best possible condition.”
Apap’s star stayer Jalapeno did everything but win a Group One and in a sign of confidence Apap placed Rasheda slightly ahead at the same age.
“He (Jalapeno) was probably faster over the 600 and the 520, but I’ve always maintained a good stayer has to break 42 and she’s done that first go, so she’s probably a litter further advanced over the 710 at the same age,” he said.
Apap has unleashed another pup with huge upside at Albion Park in the last month with Shorino making it two from two over the track and trip after jumping as favourite in the Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Series Final.
“He’s a big 35 kilo baby who’s really just starting to learn his craft,” Apap said.
“He’s a bit up and down in the boxes but has started to put it together his last couple of starts at Albion Park, which has suited his rangy style compared to the tighter turns of Ipswich..”
“He managed to break 30 seconds in his maiden (29.97) which not many do, but at nineteen months I’m in no rush with him.”
Apap trains both Rasheda and Shorino for long time friend and prominent industry figure David Brasch and was loving sharing success with his close mate.
“David (Brasch) and I have been mates for a long time, we both share a real passion for the industry and it’s good to see him with a couple of really promising greyhounds,” he said.
“I’d love to win a good race for him, he’s done so much good work for the code as a journalist right back to the Gabba days, I’d love to see him rewarded.”
Brasch who boasts a sterling CV as a journalist with the Courier Mail, Chase Magazine and other outlets has recently turned his attention to the breeding game and thught it was about time to team up with Apap.
“Ever since we’ve been mates we’ve always discussed how and who he breeds with, that’s how he came to have Tail Wag and a couple of others,” Brasch said.
“I’ve had my business Pedigree By Design for about ten years now and have gained a lot of knowledge about who compliments who, so I was able to hand pick Shorino’s sire and dam Worm Burner and Sidney’s shadow.”
Brasch sent the pair to Apap and with spades of knowledge together the duo is flourishing.
“It’s fantastic that’s morphed into a unique owner trainer relationship where we are able to have a really open dialogue about where we want to go with the greyhounds,” Brasch said.
“I love the way Tony trains, it’s all about the animal and what is best for it and it’s future and that’s why I’ve got these two with him and that’s why they’re winning.”