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Schmidt makes 'Brave' bid for Molly Campbell

By Isaac Murphy

Rio Brave's blistering time on a wet track last week has given trainer Craig Schmidt even more optimism heading into tonight's Molly Campbell Silver Dollars Heats at Albion Park. 

The soon-to-be two-year-old stopped the clock in a lightning 29.79 on Monday, October 8 (Race 7) despite the inclement weather, confirming himself as genuine contender in the series for dogs aged 27 months and younger. 

Albion Park

BOX 1 PHOTOGRAPHY 520m

Rio Brave had strung some impressive runs together at Ipswich but Schmidt, who trains out of his Helidon Spa property near Toowoomba, said the performance exceeded all expectations

“He hadn’t seen the track before at Albion Park so we weren’t sure how quick he’d go, but we knew he was a 30.30sec dog around Ipswich so we hoped he’d lower that,” Schmidt said.

“But with the wet track and the middle draw (5) to see him get on the bunny and go 29.79sec was a pleasant surprise.”

Schmidt said the family who breed and train their own dogs had put plenty of effort into getting Rio Brave’s racing patterns up to scratch and is excited to have him at his peak for the Molly Campbell Heats, where he has drawn box five again.

“His box manners aren’t perfect but he musters speed really quickly and is much more explosive than his Mother (Mercedes Lass),” Schmidt said.

“It was a target race (The Molly Campbell), when we saw how well he was progressing we thought he would definitely compete with them, but after last week he was a lock.

“We’ve had to do a bit of work with him at the start, but if he can leave like he did last week he’ll give himself every chance.”

Schmidt knows Rio Brave is still in the fledgling stages of his career and is determined to be diligent in picking the right races for his kennel star.

“He’s only young (Rio Brave) and you’ve got to be careful not to plan too far ahead, but if he keeps going well we’ll have a look at an Ipswich Cup where he’s done the majority of his racing and re-assess from there,” Schmidt said.

Rio Brave is out of El Grand Senor and Mercedes Lass and Schmidt is confident he won't be the only handy one out of the litter, with a couple of his unraced sisters showing promise.

“His sisters are both coming along well, neither have matured as fast as him but they’ve both shown signs of similar ability, so we’ll bring them along slowly,” he said.

“He was a little bit taller and bigger than the other dogs at about 35 kilos, he was a little bit clumsy going around the corners, but when he got his stride better he was just increasing his speed and if you watch his replays he’s still probably not as fluent as we’d like around the turns so I expect when he gets older he’ll get much better again.”

Schmidt said Rio Brave’s success was not being taken for granted with the dedicated greyhound family looking forward to a prosperous career.

“It’s quite a thrill actually, especially since we breed and bred our own dogs it’s probably a little extra special,” he said.

“We put a bit of thought into it as a family we sat down and figured all his racing out and it’s very exciting what’s to come if everything goes well for us, so all things being equal he can go onto a long career.”