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Victorian litter brothers ready for Flying Amy Classic

8 June 2022

By Jordan Gerrans

Victorian trainer Mario Briganti has boldly declared Sennachie’s track record around Albion Park might just be in trouble with his emerging dog Big Opal Rocks.
But, the fastest time ever seen around Albion Park for the 520 metre trip will not be happening this Thursday evening in his heat of the Flying Amy Classic for 2022.

Big Opal Rocks has drawn the pink alley in the fourth of five heats on Thursday for a slot in next Thursday’s $150,000 Final.

If Big Opal Rocks does make it through to the Group 2 Final next week, the Devon Meadows-based trainer believes the 29.38 second track record may be in danger of being run down. 

The black dog prepared for his first start in Queensland with a scintillating trial recently, putting together sectionals of 5.59 seconds, 11.47 and 12.52 before eventually stopping the clock at 29.58 seconds.

Big Opal Rocks also has litter brother Rapaki Rocks in Thursday’s heats and while Rapaki Rocks is already a Group 1 champion, their trainer thinks Big Opal is the pick of the Rocks’.

“I have no doubt that a dog like Big Opal Rocks would go close to breaking a track record if he was able to draw the red and find the front,” Briganti said.

“He has the capabilities on running close to record times, anything is possible.

“He ran 29.58 seconds after never seeing the joint in his trial, there is more improvement in him, and both dogs, to be honest.

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“Big Opal Rocks has a massive motor and is untapped, they are both 23 months old, he can run anything, I don’t want to put a ceiling on it.

“He has the capabilities of doing that, maybe now or in three or four months’ time when he is stronger and mature.

“He is a serious dog that has x-factor, where Rapaki Rocks is just a nice race dog.”

The Victorian conditioner has found a base with trainer Brent Kline’s kennel over the last week since making the trip north.

Briganti estimates he has not raced a dog in the Sunshine State for the best part of 15 years but with two speedy youngsters and with the attractive prize money on offer, he just had to come, he says.

“Being age restricted and they have had a bit of experience now and when you have the calibre of the dogs these two are, you need to take on all these races,” he said.

“It is good prize money and it is one of the harder series I have seen for a while – there is some really good dogs coming up.”

Premier Queensland trainer Tony Brett earlier this week declared the Flying Amy series of 2022 will be the strongest field ever assembled for the Group 2 event in the history of dog racing in Queensland.

Briganti is on the same wave length, blown away with the classy dogs from interstate who have descended at Albion Park.

While being disappointed with both box draws - Rapaki Rocks is in seven in his heat – Briganti says everything else has come together perfectly ahead of Thursday.

Races

7
7

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:28 PM

TAB Flying Amy Classic (G2) H

“They have settled in good; I cannot fault them and have them any better than what they are right now,” he said.

“They have pulled up well after their trials but obviously the box draws have not done us any favours.

“For Rapaki Rocks the box draw does not worry me too much because he will not crash to the fence, he will run straight and is good in a field.

“But, Big Opal Rocks, he needed to draw one, two or three, I am not saying he cannot win because he has a massive motor but he has not drawn well for this one.”

Rapaki Rocks is the more highly credentialled of the brothers at the early stage of their careers, having claimed the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park earlier this year.

Briganti thinks Rapaki Rocks will not get further than 600 metres as he progresses while expecting Big Opal Rocks to eventually become a stayer as he matures and gets older and stronger.

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The brothers are out of a Kinloch Brae and Red Rocks litter, with Briganti preparing Red Rocks in her 13 start – for seven wins – career.

“Rapaki Rocks has already won a Group 1 race and if you asked me at the start when I was working them up and pre-training them, I thought he was the fourth slowest in the litter of the four brothers,” he said.

“He is the best dog in a field as he chases but he does not have the ability of Big Opal Rocks.

“And, I have got a couple of other ones at home that go as good as Big Opal Rocks.

“Big Opal Rocks is just a nice consistent race dog. They have all the attributes to be great dogs.”

While not over the moon with the litter brothers’ box draws, the visiting trainer thinks his two dogs have drawn weaker heats than some of the others that will be contested on Thursday night.

Big Opal Rocks is $2.90 with the TAB to claim his heat while his brother is rated a $3.10 chance on Wednesday morning. 

Races

8
8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:52 PM

TAB Flying Amy Classic (G2) H