By Isaac Murphy
Darren Russell produced a champion training effort transforming Group One winning sprinter Bago Bye Bye into a Group One winning stayer last prep and rivals better watch out with the chaser looking “better than ever” for his next campaign.
“It was a huge effort coming back from New Zealand, before embarking on a four-month prep successfully transitioning him into a stayer. He deserved the break, but you can tell he wants back in,” Russell said.
Bago Bye Bye won brilliantly first up last preparation and Russell has his return planned like clockwork.
“He’ll be having his first trial back over the 395 metres on Tuesday at Albion, but his first assignment back at the track hopefully isn’t until November 9th where we hope he gets an invitation to the Group One Top Gun Stayers at The Meadows,” he said.
“We think he has the runs on the board as a multiple Group One winner to get an invite and he races brilliantly fresh, so we’re hoping to incrementally build his fitness on the trial track until then.”
“We’ll be taking it one race at a time, but the Bold Trease at Sandown follows a week later if he is up to it and then you have races like the Sydney Cup in early December which come into consideration.”
Bago Bye Bye will be taking on the best of the best in those Group One contests. A huge challenge with Australia’s staying depth, but Russell puts his boy right up there with them.
“To win any of those races would be a huge thrill, and I’m not afraid to say he’s in that category. He’s going to have to be going on song, but he’s shown he can beat anyone on his day.”
“I can’t fault him at all. He’s enjoyed his time off and looks a million bucks, but you can tell he’s itching to get back to the track and it’s my job to get a solid six-week block of conditioning to have him firing come November.”
“Whichever way it goes I’m really going to cherish these next few months. He’s coming up four in February and who knows when his time will be up, but he’s a big chance to add to his resume before then.”
Russell said travel was a necessity to find the right races, but the adopted Queenslander is looking forward to getting the stayer back to the site of his Group One Gold Cup win.
“He’s an out and out top-class stayer which demands we do a fair bit of travel with him, but even though people like to have a laugh about my New South Wales roots, it’ll be nice to get him back to Albion for the Summer Distance race in early January,” Russell said.
With the end closer than the start Russell has reluctantly started to entertain Bago Bye Bye’s retirement plans, while he hopes he’s got another star who can fill the void.
“It’s a bit hard to think post racing but I don’t have any huge breeding plans for him. I’ve got a couple of handy bitches at home I might throw him with, but regardless he’s given me enough this dog,” he said.
“I’ve got a nice trio of Magic Sprite/Trenty’s Rose pups coming through. Major Rose is probably the one who has really shown she could be something special thus far.”
“She broke the 288 metre track record at Ipswich her second start and just yesterday went 22.51 winning over the 395 at Albion. She’s going to win races I’ve just got to figure out if she’ll get the 520.”