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Stinger steals Sprint while Rasheda revels over Distance

By Isaac Murphy

To be in the conversation for best greyhound in the state, the best way to do it is through the esteemed Queensland State Sprint and Distance Championships.

After two cracking finals last night, Selena Zammit’s Stinger Noir and Tony Apap’s Rasheda are deserving 2020 state champions.

 

Stinger Noir steals Sprint Championship

Race-6-Stinger-Noir-DSC-1943-JPG.JPGThe Sprint Championship was billed as a battle between kennel mates Stinger Noir and Oh Mickey, but there were six other greyhounds with a say about that.

However, the field couldn’t stop Stinger, who scored a thrilling head victory over the closing Shakey Diesel.

“There was a bit of interference early and it looked like he was going to be shuffled out the back, but he found a way through them and hit the front before I knew it,” Mick Zammit said.

“It was a run of an in-form dog that’s now six in a row at Albion Park, if he doesn’t have his confidence up he probably doesn’t take that run towards the first turn so he’s finding ways to win - I’m very happy with him.

“We were hoping he could use the outside gate (six) to wind up and push through and that’s the way it worked out, if he began half-a-length behind them off the inside, he probably would have found trouble.”

Zammit has been involved in a lot of big races with his star duo and knows it’s inches that separate Queensland’s top dogs.

“There’s not much between a lot of those dogs in that field last night, which was reflected in the tight finish; sometimes you need a bit of good fortune on the night and it was Stinger’s turn,” Zammit said.

“He’s a dog that’s won a lot of races, but this is by far his biggest win and he’s been deserving always being around the mark and finding a couple better.”

Albion Park

Qld Sprint Championship F 520m

While Stinger Noir misses the opportunity to compete at Nationals due to COVID-19 restrictions, the win comes with something of potentially far greater value.

“To come away with a golden ticket through to the semi-finals of the Million Dollar Chase as well as the State Sprint title is magnificent, you’re one win away from the final and a crack at the money,” Zammit said.

“Knowing that he’s got his spot booked we’ll really be able to come up with the ideal preparation for him leading into the race, it’s a long way away but we’ll get him down to Wentworth Park for a trial and do everything we can to have him firing on the night.”

While it was a successful night for the kennel overall, they would have preferred a quinella with Oh Mickey, who didn’t fire but is not far off doing something special.

“Considering he was last out he was never really a winning chance from out there, it’s disappointing because you know how good he is, but he’ll live to fight another day,” Zammit said.

“He ran on pretty well, I wasn’t upset with his run I just wasn’t happy with the way he came out.

“It’s frustrating because the dog is going as good as ever; his recent times at Albion and Ipswich will tell you that, but as I said earlier if you just don’t get the breaks in these tough races you’re going to struggle.”

Oh Mickey will get a chance to bounce back in Group 3 company at the Townsville Cup along with Stinger Noir in next Saturday night’s heats, and Zammit says both dogs have pulled up well.

“The Townsville Cup is the next mission; we’ll give both dogs a nice light week and figure out how early we want to get them up there,” he said.

“They’ll go straight in the heats without a trial, I think that’s the best way to go considering the hard racing they’ve been doing week-in week-out down here and both have shown they can handle a new track first up.”

 

Rasheda leaves it late to claim Distance title

Race-5-Rasheda-D85-0027-JPG.JPGRasheda is a throwback to yesteryear’s stayers; a true closer in every sense of the word in an age where front runners are all the rage.

Seeing Rasheda come from the clouds to win the Distance Championship for Tony Apap last night was pretty special and she did it with plenty against her.

“It was a remarkable effort to get up and win after clipping the heals of Cool Talk on the home turn and almost coming down,” Apap said.

“She had her momentum up and would have been a good thing beaten if she didn’t get there.

“She did it tough from box six again, I had a joke with Jeff Crawford that I should tattoo that six on her chest to save the rug every week, but she is getting used to racing out there.

“She’s starting to go around dogs where she used to only rail which is a string to her bow.

“We would have preferred her on the inside but that’s racing, and it probably gave me more of a thrill seeing her do it the tough way last night.”

The bitch has been competitive in all of the winter staying events but with the likes of Velocity Bettina and Classy Ethics getting the fly, it’s left Rasheda too far back.

When they bunched at the start last night, Apap knew she’d have her shot.

“She was still near the back of the field last night, but they were far more bunched most of the way around and the field didn’t string out like in similar races this winter,” he said.

“She’s a hard dog to cheer because you’re never really sure if she’ll get there but at the 600-metre boxes, I could see her coming and knew she was going to get her chance to fly around them.

“As I said earlier, she almost fell and then had to pick up again and come four-wide to win it on the line - it was a mighty effort.”

Albion Park

Qld Distance Championship F 710m

Bursting on to the staying scene as a two-year-old, Rasheda had the world at her feet but things don’t always go to plan in greyhound racing, and her owner and trainer aren’t taking anything for granted.

“Like I always say to her owner (David Brasch) every win and every pay cheque is a bonus because the achilleas tendon injury she had was a career threatening injury,” Apap said.

“A lot of them don’t come back from that and she’s come back and won the State Championships.

“It was fantastic for me and the bitch but you’ve got to look after your owners and I was really happy for David (Brasch), with the connections he’s got in greyhound racing across Australia I know he was getting a lot of congratulations and is still riding high this morning.

“Even when I went back into the kennels last night, with all the girls working there and everyone was congratulating me, I think she’s a bit of a fan favourite.”

Owner David Brasch is best known for his encyclopaedic breeding knowledge and is rubbing his hands together for what’s to come post-racing, but Rasheda has a little more run in her yet.

“David has a sire picked out - Aston Dee Bee I believe he is leaning towards - but we both think she’s got some more racing in her the way she’s going,” Apap said.

“The landscape is fairly unknown at the moment with the COVID restrictions; I know the Sydney Cup is coming up but whether we can get down there without jumping through too many hoops we’ll have to see.”