By Isaac Murphy
Queensland greyhound racing has been blessed with staying talent over the past 12 months and it took Group 1 (520m) winner Bago Bye Bye just one run over the longer trip to confirm his place among the top echelon.
Bago Bye Bye's 12-length demolition at his first attempt over 710m at Albion Park last Thursday night set tounges wagging when he completed the circuit in a staggering 41.46 seconds for trainer Darren Russell.
The bookies had narrowed the event down to a race in two, with the only other danger on paper, seemingly, the promising two-year-old Rasheda for Tony Apap.
“I was pretty confident he’d run time after his 600-metre trial (34.50), where his run home was 12.79, so I thought he’d run it out quite comfortably, but you never know until you try them,” Russell said.
“My theory was Rasheda is an out and out stayer and simply couldn’t run 34.50 over 600, I knew we’d be in front and I said to the boys upstairs if we don’t run 41.60 or better I’m a bad judge.”
Bago Bye Bye has always exuded class, boasting a record of 15 wins from 24 starts, most notably the Group One Christchurch Cup last November and a luckless fourth in the Group One Australian Cup.
Russell said a transition to the staying trips was always on the cards.
“We knew we had a very good dog early on who was capable of winning Group One races over the 520 metres, which he did in Christchurch,” Russell said.
“It was always the plan once he got a bit older and stronger we’d transition him to the longer trip, it was just about picking the right time to do so.”
That time is now for Russell who believes Bago Bye Bye can carve out a name for himself as a catch-me-if-you-can stayer.
“His box manners can be exceptional as we saw in the Heat of The Australian Cup, where he crossed them from the eight, so we saw a bit of a niche for him as a front running stayer,” Russell said