Rapaki Ready To Rock In Harrison-Dawson

MARIO Briganti believes he is in with a good chance to claim a fourth career group 1 when Rapaki Rocks lines up in the Harrison-Dawson Thursday.

Mick Floyd

19 May 2022

MARIO Briganti believes he is in with a good chance to claim a fourth career group 1 victory when Rapaki Rocks lines up in the Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park on Thursday night.

Briganti entered the series with one of the favourites, Big Opal Rocks, but it was kennelmate Rapaki Rocks that progressed to the final.

His impressive 29.24 gallop – the fastest of the five heats – made more impressive given he was forced to work through the field.

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK THURSDAY NIGHT

After drawing box two for the $152,000 final, Rapaki Rocks was installed a $3.50 equal favourite.

“I’m happy with the draw,” said Briganti.

“The dog’s come through the heat very good – I can’t fault him – and he’s definitely a chance. He’s just got to use his track sense going through the first corner and if he can get within two or three of them down the back, he’s going to be right in the race because his last section is going to be his best section.

“There’s a bit of speed around him, the ideal scenario will be to come out and get in behind them around the first corner.”

It took nine starts for the son of Kinloch Brae and Red Rocks to win his maiden but his career has progressed quickly since winning five of his next nine and progressing to favouritism in a group 1 final.

That progression has come as somewhat of a surprise to Briganti.

“He’s come along way and he’s getting better as he’s getting older. He’s starting to turn into a really nice race dog. He’s no superstar but he’s a nice honest dog.

“He’s run 29.76 at The Meadows so the dog can run, but is he a group 1 dog He’s in a group 1 (on Thursday) and he has got the ability to win it. He’s only 23 months old and getting better and better, the whole litter is doing the same thing. Until they hit their ceiling, you just don’t know.”

So what is his ceiling?

“I’d like to think he’s got half a dozen in him,” he said, laughing.

“But if they keep improving and that’s all you can ask. He has put in some really hot trials but his races weren’t as good as his trials when he started off. But he’s learnt to be a race dog – he’s not the quickest of race dogs but he’s got good track sense and chases good so that’s all you can ask.”

Rapaki Rocks entered the series on the back of two middle distance runs, a tactic that has been used to great effect to improve the confidence of greyhounds over the sprint trip. It’s a tactic that he will employ with kennel star Big Opal Rocks ahead of next week’s Speed Star.

“The only reason I put (Rapaki Rocks) over the distance was to see if it can get him closer to the speed and get a bit of confidence,” Briganti added.

“There were a couple of runs where he got knocked around, I don’t mind stepping them up to 600m then dropping them back, it does their confidence the world of good.

“Big Opal Rocks will have a race at Sandown Park on Sunday over 595m and get some confidence out of it, then head to the Speed Star five days later.”

The Harrison-Dawson kicks off a group 1 triple header on Thursday night with the Sapphire Crown and Sandown Cup also featuring on a high-quality card of racing.

The first of 12 races will be run at 6.12pm.