BEN Rawlings is confident his promising stayer Bogie Bekim will improve on his fifth in the Zoom Top, heading into the heats of the Group 1 Super Stayers (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
The South Australian trainer achieved a career highlight with Bogie Bekim two starts ago at Perth when claiming the Group 1 Galaxy (720m). That victory secured him an invitation into the Zoom Top at The Meadows, but the black dog was never in contention after a poor beginning.
However, Rawlings wasn’t too disappointed in the run and says Bogie Bekim is capable of finding plenty of improvement.
“He is a front running stayer so it was tough for him when he missed the start last week and then he wanted to get wide – by that stage he was giving good dogs too much of a start,” Rawlings said.
“He did make some ground and I thought he was some chance of running a place going past the 600m boxes, but then he ran up the back of them and he went wide again and started to feel the run.
“I am expecting a much better run from him this week at his second look out of the boxes.”
Rawlings believes his star greyhound may have been slightly confused at his first run out of the 725m boxes at The Meadows last week, having only trialled from the sprint distance in preparation for the series.
“He has had a pretty hectic time which is why I decided not to trial him over the 725m prior to the Zoom Top – I didn’t want to flog him – I wanted to keep him pretty fresh,” he said.
“He did the same thing when we went to Perth – we trialled him over 500m and then raced him over 720m which he won and then he went into the Galaxy heat the next week.
“I definitely think he seemed more comfortable his second start out of the 720m boxes in Perth – so I am hoping it’s the same theory this week.”
A winner of 13 of his 41 starts, Bogie Bekim is owned by Queensland breeder Les Bein and has transformed into a top class stayer since stepping up in trip, winning seven of his 12 starts over the middle distance and staying distances under the tutelage of Rawlings.
Rawlings said the son of Bekim Bale and Bogie Skye has always shown enormous potential, but concedes he is still pinching himself to be racing the best of the best.
“Les always said he would be a stayer, but we started him out over the 500 and quickly found that his run home was his best section so we stepped him up,” he said.
“He has always had a big motor – put it this way if I had to pick one dog in my shed who would be up to this level of racing it would be him.
“But it is still insane – I am still getting used to it all. He won a group 1 final and then went into a group 1 invitational and now he is backing up in another group 1 series – it’s a big thrill to think that’s the path he is going.”
Bogie Bekim will contest the first of three Super Stayers heats this Saturday night and has drawn box three against a quality field including Ebby Ripper (box six) who is being touted as the next big thing on the staying scene.
Despite facing another tough challenge, Rawlings remains adamant Bogie Bekim is capable of winning.
“Wider is better for him, but in terms of the strength of the field it is definitely a bit easier than last week,” he said.
“[Ebby Ripper] is a flyer, but she tends to be slow out so I am really excited to see what my bloke can do if he lands on the lure – they will find it tough to run him down.
“He broke the first split record at Angle Park when he had his second 700 and he broke the third split record at Cannington when he had his first 700 there so he can really put it to them early and break their hearts – that’s what we will be hoping for again on Saturday night.
“He is definitely capable of matching it with the better dogs.”
Other big names to look out for in the Super Stayers series are Jaimandy Hatty (heat one box seven), Burn One Down (heat two box five), Zipping Zeus (heat two box seven), Trip To Eden (heat three box two), It’s A Bird (heat three box seven) and Melissa’s Pride (heat three box eight).