By Isaac Murphy
Tony Apap continues to search for that elusive first group one and the leading trainer believes his chaser Bubble Guppy has what it takes to match it with the best at Sandown Park in the nationals on August 24.
Bubble Guppy returned to the winner's circle at Albion last Thursday and will attempt back-to-back wins in this week's Best 8.
There he'll take on the likes of Winter Cup and UBET Origin Series winner Jury, and the in-form Fabrique.
Apap said his dog was owed a few favours and was rapt to get some luck after some tough runs.
“The most pleasing aspect was that he could get to the lead and have a clear run throughout the race without getting in trouble because he has just been so unlucky of late,” Apap said.
“The week prior was an enormous run, he was last at one stage and flew home to finish just behind the winners.”
Apap said one of his dog's defining qualities was his fighting spirit.
"That’s the good thing about this dog he’ll always give you his best and doesn’t stop trying,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say he was at his best, when they turn four at that age you want to start to taper off a little bit, but in saying that he wasn’t far behind his personal best last week.”
Although winning races and the Nationals are the immediate focus, the kennel already has plans in place for the dog post racing career.
“We’ve decided we’re going to give him a go at stud,” Apap said.
“We have a few different bitches in mind but will look more closely at it when he tells us he’s had enough racing."
Bubble Guppy jumps from box five on Thursday night and Apap said getting the start right would be crucial from the sticky draw.
“He just needs that little bit of luck around the first turn, but he’ll go good again, he’s pulled up really well,” he said.
“Getting his box manners right is really important, he did come home in 12.50 two weeks ago which is absolutely humming."
Now in the second half of his career Apap said he’d taken the time to reflect on what a quality dog Bubble Guppy had been for the kennel.
“We keep looking back through his career, he’s ran second in a group one, third in a group one and he still holds the track record at Ipswich out of those 431m boxes, there’s been a lot of greyhounds come out of those boxes and he’s the fastest one,” he said.
The Queensland Nationals Heats get under way at Albion Park on August 2, with the state finals to be held on August 9.
Nationals Finals night is scheduled for August 24 at Sandown Park and Apap said there was no fear with how the dog would handle the travel and track.
“Having the Nationals at Sandown this year is definitely a bonus,” he said.
“He’s seen the track before and ran third in a group one at Sandown, so we don’t have to worry about trialling with him.”
“Hopefully we can get him qualified and finally breakthrough with the big one.”