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Million Dollar Chase champ in doubt for Origin clash

Race-4-Handsome-Prince-DSC-7808-jpg.JPGBy 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.”

Races

4
4

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:25 PM

FABREGAS @ METICULOUS LODGE

Race-4-Handsome-Prince-DSE-6156-jpg.JPGOne of the star greyhounds in Australia, Handsome Prince is on the comeback trail following a badly dislocated toe, where he tore ligaments, and spent much of the back end of 2020 and the early months of this year on the sidelines.  

“It was recuperating and a lack of racing more than anything, that they miss out on in the three months that he was off,” Lagogiane said.

“It takes a toll on the for later on.

“In those three months, he was more of a pet than a race dog.

“We try to rehabilitate him with a toe that went wrong and he is coming along in leaps and bounds, all he wanted to do through that time was come back to racing.”

Queensland has announced a strong line up of proven stars, headlined by three recent Group 1 finalists in Farmor Beach, Crazy Cool and Maggie Moo Moo for Thursday night's much-anticipated event. 
 
“We’re happy with the squad that we have selected,” Queensland selector Luke Gatehouse said.
 
“It’s a powerful NSW line-up and they’re going to be hard to beat.
 
“But we relish the opportunity to be underdogs as Queenslanders and will be doing our utmost to win this year’s Series.”
 
On his state’s squad, Lagogiane says NSW have selected well and present with the five best greyhounds in the state on Thursday evening in Brisbane.MicrosoftTeams-image-2.png

After COVID-19 forced the abandonment of last year’s TAB Origin Greyhound Series, it returns with two $60,000 Group 3 races – the Origin Sprint (520 metres) and Origin Distance (710 metres) – as well as the Listed Origin Match Race, Regional Origin Challenge and Queensland Emerging Origin Stars (all run over 520 metres).

Bragging rights still rest with NSW after Feral Franky broke the 2019 stalemate with a barnstorming victory in the Origin Match Race to send the shield south of the border, with Queensland’s victory in 2018’s inaugural series leaving it at one apiece heading into 2021.

Handsome Prince