BEN Rawlings says he couldn’t be happier with his star greyhound Bogie Bekim (Bekim Bale x Bogie Skye Apr ’14) which secured his spot in the Group 1 National Distance Championship (710m) at Albion Park with a last stride victory in the SA Distance final (731m) at Angle Park on Thursday night.
Jumping from box four, Bogie Bekim settled in a mid field position before working his way into second past the post on the first occasion.
From there, the black dog continued to grind back the margin, taking the lead from Hukanui (Kelsos Fusileer x Daddy’s Muffin Feb ’14) around the home turn and holding off a late challenge from Purpose Driven (Bekim Bale x Alana Blues Dec ’14) to score by a head in a moderate 43.38.
— Puntersland (@Puntersland) August 11, 2017
Rawlings said it was a massive effort from his gun stayer which only resumed from nearly three months on the sidelines due to a metacarpal injury in his heat the week prior, running second to Purpose Driven on that occasion.
“I was super proud of him to win the way he did,” Rawlings told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He was off the scene for a while and it was one of those injuries we couldn’t rush and it just took a bit longer to heal than we originally thought.
“It was a tough task to get him back over the 700 in time for the Nationals and at one point we thought we’d run out of time.
“It was exciting and a big relief to see him get the win.”
Rawlings said Bogie Bekim benefited from a quiet week at home following his second placing in his heat after a busy preparation in the lead up to the series.
“A lot of people were saying he looked a bit one paced in his heat, but one positive I took from the run was that he seemed to find the line well,” Rawlings said.
“In the three weeks leading up to the heats we tried to jam a fair bit of work into him to get him ready and in hindsight we probably cooked him a bit.
“We gave him a cruisy week between the heat and final to give him a chance to recharge his batteries and it worked out well – just.”
Bogie Bekim, owned by prominent Queensland breeder Les Bein, heads into the final having won 19 of his 52 starts with 15 minor placings.
To his name is a success in the 2017 Group 1 WA Galaxy and a second in the 2017 Group 1 Association Cup, whilst he also qualified for the 2017 Group 1 Zoom Top.
He will face a tough task in the $75,000 to the winner final, with two of the spots already filled belonging to Victorian superstars Burn One Down (Buck Fever x Fancy Jaffa Jan ’14) and Fanta Bale (David Bale x Ucme Typhoon Aug ’14).
The Tasmanian finalist has also been decided, with Shima Sun (Barcia Bale x Shimaguni Feb ’15) causing an upset at Launceston on Monday night when scoring in 42.76.
The WA and NSW representatives will be decided this Saturday, with the final spot, for a Queenslander, to be filled next Thursday night.
Whilst it will no doubt be a challenging task, Rawlings says Bogie Bekim’s run on Thursday shows he is nearing his peak and is confident he can have him spot on for the final on August 25.
— Greyhound Racing SA (@TheDogsSA) August 10, 2017
“There was a head wind in the straight last night so I think his run was better than what the clock indicated – I think he is very close to being back where he was,” he said.
“He’ll work up our straight at home next week and then he’ll fly to Queensland on Sunday week and have a trial at Albion Park over 500m on the Monday.
“He has the advantage of plenty of experience around Albion Park – he started his career in Queensland so I am hopeful that will assist him and he is mature now – he is a professional dog and he knows what he is doing.
“I expect him to be 100 per cent heading into the final.”