By Isaac Murphy
Rio Brave went from being labelled a bright prospect to emerging star in the space of 30 seconds on Thursday after blitzing a quality young field in Heat 2 of the Molly Campbell Silver Dollars at Albion Park.
The Craig Schmidt-trained dog set tongues wagging when he ran 29.79sec at his first Albion start on October 8, but confirmed his potential star status when lowering that time again in tougher company.
Schmidt, who also qualified Taylor Maid for next week’s final, said he was confident Rio Brave could overcome any box draw after two straight wins from the five but was hoping for an inside alley.
“I think the way he’s going if he gets a clean first few steps he’ll put himself in the race, but I think he could definitely go quicker if we draw the red,” he said.
MAURICE'S MINOR'S MAJOR FEAT
While Rio Brave is a new face, Maurice Minor has been on radar as one of the state’s best for a while, but he reached new heights last night going 29.55sec, the fourth fastest time ever at the track.
Sky Racing’s Jason Lincoln described the race as group calibre, with the likes of Shot Clock, Big Bag Bob, Wise Misty and multiple Group One winner Jury, all ultimately proving no match for Maurice.
Trainer Tommy Tzouvelis said Maurice Minor was in career best form and he was looking forward to flying the Queensland flag against some of Australia’s best dogs.”
“He’s been flying, unfortunately in the Million Dollar Cup Semis last week he slipped on the mat and got into an impossible position in the run, but tonight shows it certainly hasn’t shirked his confidence,” Tzouvelis said.
“I’ll be taking him to Victoria for the Hume Cup over 600m which I think he will run out and then hopefully the Melbourne Cup.”
FOLLE'S ON FIRE
Another notable performance on the night was that of Femme Folle, who made it three out of four from box eight for the multi-talented jockey turned trainer Nathan Evans who has grander plans for his chaser.
“I’m thinking about the Ipswich Cup Heats and I’ve always wanted to take a dog to Wentworth Park, I don’t think she’s there yet but maybe one day,” Evans said.