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Cracking career closes, new door opens for Apap

By Isaac Murphy

Bubble Guppy’s career accomplishments speak for themselves; third in the Group 1 Harrison Dawson, second in the Group 1 Winter Cup, 16 Class 1 wins, an Ipswich track record and over $160,000 in prize money. 

However, It is perhaps the beloved chaser’s ability to not run a bad race that both punters and trainer Tony Apap will miss the most as he goes into retirement.

Going on four-and-a-half years old, Bubble Guppy was competitive until the end. 

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A constant fixture in Best 8 races at Albion Park on Thursday night the ultra-consistent chaser has recorded wins over dogs of group calibre in Wise Misty, Maurice Minor and Del Rey, but doting trainer Tony Apap knew it was time to call it a day.

“He’s four and three months and pulled up a little bit sore after his last run, so it was going to be at least a few weeks with the injury, so I thought by the time we get him fit again it would be asking a bit much for the dog, “Apap said.

“In the end I thought this time was as good as any, he was still competitive right till the end and the last thing we wanted to do was over race him after all he’s done for us.”

Bubble Guppy’s sterling record of 78 starts for 26 wins and 32 minor placing’s have entrenched the greyhound as a prime candidate to go to stud, something Apap said would happen when the time was right.

“He’ll go to stud now and there is a couple of bitches coming on season soon we’ve got our eye on,” he said.

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“We’re not going to advertise him for stud or anything like that, it’ll be mainly for our own use, but it’s nice to have a few people ask me already he obviously built a pretty strong following up here.”

While Bubble Guppy is enjoying his retirement at Apap’s Gatton property, the trainer said he had been quite sentimental after calling time of his racing career.

“He’s given us a lot of memories over the journey, especially since we bred him yourself ourselves,” he said.

“We whelp them, rare them here and break them in here, always having him around the property his entire life and to find a dog that’ll give you one hundred and ten percent like he’s done is pretty special.”

Apap said he knew he had a talent from the start in Bubble Guppy, with huge runs early in his career.

“The good ones always show you they’ve got it from the word go and he’s always shown he’s got ability from when we broke him in,” he said.

“I remember him starting off in a maiden where he went enormous time, I think he went 24.80 over the 431 at Ipswich in a heat and matched it in the final and a few months down the track he broke the track record there in 24.57.”

Asked about his enduring memories of Bubble Guppy as a race dog Apap again cited early in his career when he was asked to overcome adversity time and again.

 “At an early age he lived in box six he couldn’t seem to get away from it, he had to do it tough when he was young and that sticks in my mind, because when he was at his peak against the good ones he always did it the tough way,” he said.

“I think that education made him a very intelligent race dog for the back half of his career where he learned to navigate from whatever box he was dealt.”

Though his racing days are over Apap said Bubble Guppy was handling his retirement better than the trainer himself.

“He’s enjoying his retirement so far, but as a trainer it’s definitely tough trying to find one to fill his shoes, especially when we lost Jalapeno as well this year it’s a big hole.” He said.

“I’ve got a nice litter of Barcia Bale’s to come up out of Bubble Guppy’s mother, we kept the whole lot of them, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed we can find another one like him.”

“You do get attached to your dogs, Bubble Guppy especially with his longevity, he’s been such a big part of the kennel you get a bit sad, but having said that he’s been around for a while and had a fantastic run, he doesn’t owe us anything, we’re just looking forward to having him around home.”

“He’s got a home forever here, he’s got a beautiful temperament even when we put him down in yard and took him out of the racing environment we haven’t heard a bark out of him.”

Apap is hoping to fill some of the whole left by Bubble Guppy with a pair of promising youngsters who recorded impressive maiden wins over the 520 at Albion on October 22nd.

The first came from the 18-month-old Rasheda who got her opportunity to show what she can do in a small field clocking 30.10 in her third race start.

 “Very impressed with her run last time out, the small field and box one helped, but she was just a bit green in the heats of the Molly Campbell the week before,” Apap said.

“She’s bred to be a stayer 500 won’t be her long-term caper, she’s out of Born Ali who has bred some very nice distance dogs.”

“Obviously we can’t get her up over distance straight away, so we’ll persist with a few more 520’s and step her up when the time is right.”

Apap said Rasheda had done everything right in her fledging career, but would be nursed along with bigger goals in mind.

 “She’s been very sound to this stage of her career, but I just have to remember how young she is,  she’s only learning, unfortunately she doesn’t have the pace to get to the first turn like some of the others, but we know her future is over further so we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do, “ Apap said.

Rasheda is owned by breeding guru David Brasch who entrusted his young bitch to the Apap kennel.

“David (Brasch) bought her and sent her up for us to break her in and asked us if we’d like to train her, but he did all the research into the pedigree and the type of dog he wanted,” Apap said.

Another progressive young greyhound claimed his maiden in the race directly after Rasheda as Irish Rogue got it right at his third start to show off his abilities.

“Irish Rogue has got the early pace Rasheda doesn’t quite possess,” Apap said.

“I said to the owner (Stephen McDermott) the week before his maiden win he’d learn from his experience and he showed the other day what he can do.”

“He can jump and go early and with a few runs under his belt that second half of his race will get much stronger, because he’s a big dog still growing into himself, he should have a nice future.”