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Bring It Home Pop on trial for Rockhampton Newmarket
By Isaac Murphy
It’s fitting that Darren Taylor’s premier Rockhampton kennel is represented in the club’s biggest race of the year.
Taylor’s Off Break and Barcia Bullet will fly the flag for the locals in Friday night’s Group 3 Rockhampton Cup Final.
Taylor is one of the unique kennels that consistently races from Townsville right down to Albion Park.
But Rockhampton has always been home - just a 15-minute drive from the track - where his duo will look to win the Cup against six of the state’s best chasers.
“The Rockhampton Cup takes on a special meaning for us every year, it’s the only time on the calendar where the good dogs come to us and to be the only local trainer with not one but two in the final is a real point of pride,” Taylor said.
“Those were four really high calibre heats last week, there’s no room for error when you need to run in the first two to progress and Off Break and Barcia Bullet both thoroughly deserve their spots.
“It only gets harder this week with six Group-class chasers alongside us, but what a thrill to be there and we won’t just be making up the numbers.”
Off Break gave a brave sight in his heat, making Tony Brett’s Enthusiastic work overtime to catch him late.
“Off Break’s a very good dog over the 510m at Rockhampton, but I took him to Bundaberg a few months ago and he’s just really taken to the place winning multiple times over the 460m and getting up to the 550m two starts ago,” he said.
“Coming up from Brisbane, he was a dog searching for confidence and it was my job to find the right place to cultivate that and that’s been at Bundy.
“He was able to come into last week’s heats off the back of that Free For All Bundaberg win and performed right up to that standard again.”
The dog is a proven winner in central Queensland and from a reasonable draw in the three, Taylor thinks he could find a nice spot in the run.
“It’d been some time since he’d seen the 510m at Rocky, so I definitely think he’ll find a few lengths this week, whether or not that’s good enough to win we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
“He’s done a tremendous job to get to a Group 3 final, when we first got him, he probably struggled to run anything over 400m now - he’s right in the mix over our traditional sprint trip.
“The first 100m is going to be vital for every dog including him, if he can get out in front of Orchestrate (4) and Enthusiastic (5) I think he gives himself a good chance to trail Bow Baby (1), but Mitchell Street (8) is obviously a chance to carve across them all.”
Rockhampton | Rockhampton Greyhound Racing Club | 9:38 PM
Barcia Bullet was a great run in his heat, running past the likes of Crazy Cool to nab second and a finals birth.
Taylor thinks the dog has plenty of scope.
“Barcia Bullet has been a super dog for us, we weren’t sure what we had a year ago and 11 wins and over $20,000 later he finds himself in a Group 3 final,” he said.
“I actually think his future is over more distance and one day we’ll get him down over the 700m at Albion Park, he ran a good second to Ninetymile King over the 600m not long ago which is a great form line.
“He’s a dog who’s one speed but he can sustain that throughout the run and seems to just keep coming regardless of what distance he’s over.”
Without the explosiveness of Off Break, Barcia Bullet might be doing it tough from box seven, but if there’s any trouble, he’ll be running on to capitalise.
“I’d say he’s definitely the secondary chance to Off Break in terms of winning the race but if he finds himself in the clear, he could easily sail home into the placings,” Taylor said.
“Mitchell Street in the eight should clear him early and leave him out there with plenty of room in the seven, he’s a pretty smart dog who won’t crash for the fence either.
“He just needs to build that momentum up once he gets going, they won’t be going away from him, it’s just how big a start he’s giving to the front runners.”