Corsair Upset Hands Paull First Group Runner

TRAINER Greg Paull is living the dream with a dog that cost just $1750 and has become far too slow to run in Masters races at Albion Park.

GREG Paull is living a dream with a dog that cost just $1750 and has become far too slow to run in Masters races at Albion Park.

The dog is Midnight Bandit which on Wednesday at Albion Park caused a $31 boilover when winning a heat of the Group 3 Dashing Corsair (710m) to give Greg his first finalist in a Group race as a trainer.

"And, to think I didn't really want to buy him way back last year," said Greg.

Midnight Bandit was already in Masters class when Greg bought the dog from Ross Schurgott in South Australia.

"I'd been buying a few from Ross in the past and I organised to buy Midnight Blast for $2000," said Greg.

"Ross offered me his brother Midnight Bandit. I wasn't that keen to take them both.

"Bandit had won 18 races and earned about as much in prizemoney, but he'd already won over 700 metres in South Australia and he was strong."

Greg reckoned by racing him twice a week it has kept the dog racing well.

"He's one of those dogs who will do nothing in the galloping runs, needs to go behind the drag lure to get him to try hard, and the racing twice a week … well, he thrives on it."

But, Midnight Bandit (Collision-Midnight Starlet), has a habit of flopping out of the boxes, spearing straight to the rails and won't leave it.

"These days his first split in 520 metre races in 5.90 and that means he's up against it in Masters races," said Greg.

"But, his run home times are always around 12.65.

The Dashing Corsair will be staged next Thursday night

"I stepped him up to 600 metres and then gave him a few tries over 710 metres."

So Greg decided to give Midnight Bandit, at four and a half years of age and already "too slow for Masters racing" his try against Group class stayers.

"I had to find a catcher during the day and spotted Tony and Maree Zammit and decided to ask Maree if she would catch my dog in the Dashing Corsair heat," said Greg.

"Tony had all his race book marked with what he thought were the chances in my heat but he'd left out Midnight Bandit. I told him not to leave him out of the chances even though at the time he was showing $60."

The rest is history with Midnight Bandit downing Mepunga Loaf and Group 1 winner First Picked in a pedestrian 42.49.

And, he's come up with his much favoured box one in the final.

"I've got only one dog racing at the moment, Midnight Bandit," said Greg Paull.

"The $10,000 he won for the heat of the Dashing Corsair is the biggest prizemoney win I've had as a trainer.

"And, this is the first time I have ever had a Group finalist as a trainer.

"My original plan was to win a couple of those nice 710 metre races on a Monday night with him.

"The old dog is probably in the Group final by default, and he is never going to beat Tony Zammit's bitch (Valpolicella) in the final.

"But, he's in the race and is drawn perfectly."

G3 Dashing Corsair (710m) in box draw order: 1 Midnight Bandit, 2 Zipping Luda, 3 Fast Milkman, 4 Kushti Bok, 5 Valpolicella, 6 Garrison, 7 Mepunga Loaf, 8 Mystical Beck. Res: 9 First Picked, 10 Pursurer.

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