By Jordan Gerrans
In a boost to Queensland’s hopes of reclaiming the TAB Origin Greyhound Series, reigning Million Dollar Chase champion Handsome Prince is no certain starter for Thursday evening’s feature racing.
Speaking before the box draw on Monday afternoon at Albion Park, trainer Peter Lagogiane has revealed Handsome Price faces further tests this week to prove his fitness for Thursday night.
The leading NSW-based trainer is likely to take a cautious approach with his gun chaser, aiming for a tilt at the rich Brisbane Cup later in the TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival.
The winner of 10 races from 23 starts warmed up in the Sunshine State on Thursday evening at Albion Park, scoring in a time of 30.05 seconds over the 520-metre trip last Thursday.
Lagogiane described Handsome Prince (pictured) as “bright as a button” on Monday but admits he will face further tests this week.
“I think fitness is going to be his downfall come Thursday, we have had a few minor things come up with him, we have had to see the vet this week and last week and we need to get on top of that, I will not put him around if he is not at his best,” Lagogiane said.
“We have Pay Call - another one of my dogs - as a back-up for Thursday night and she is going brilliant out here as she used to race in Queensland as a pup.
“The welfare of the animal for Handsome Prince is paramount to us and his assignment is the Brisbane Cup and if we have to save him for that, we will.”
The $375,000 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup later in the carnival is the reigning Million Dollar Chase champion winner's main aim while in Brisbane.
Lagogiane has been in Queensland for three weeks with a strong team of dogs, hoping to acclimatise and adjust to local conditions.
“It was only the third 500-metre race there for almost six months,” Lagogiane said of Handsome Prince’s latest win on Thursday night.
“I am pretty pleased with how he is at the moment.
“The dog chases, he has got chase and he wants to race.”