The black dog was far from disgraced in its heat last week, finishing three lengths second behind Takedown in its first start at Goulburn after entering as the first reserve from box eight.
“He had been going well heading into the heats and I was really hoping to get a run in them,” Staines told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“When the draw came out he was only made a reserve, but luckily he was able to get a start and I was very happy with his run.”
He now moves into the quality final, featuring high calibre greyhounds such as Clock’s Ticking (box three), Knight Sprite (box four), Let It Develop (box five) and El Magnifico (box six).
Staines said the son of Magic Sprite and Hidden Assets is finally nearing his peak after suffering a serious injury in April.
“He is just coming back from injury. He hurt himself very badly a bit over six months ago and it took us a long time to get him back, but he is slowly coming back to his best now.
“He looked like being anything before his injury. It has probably taken a little bit of time off him, but he is still going well.”
Despite his injury woes, Staines says he is expecting Tullabong Rock to perform well on Tuesday, with the six-time winner having drawn favourably in box one.
“He should handle box one ok, I would much rather be there than in the middle somewhere.
“The good thing about being on the inside is that he is already on the fence so he won’t have to go around seven other dogs.
“This is his pet distance, so I am expecting him to be very competitive.
“I think he can win, although we will be racing for luck. He can’t afford to do anything wrong, it’s a very tough field and any one could win it.”
Meanwhile, Knight Sprite’s trainer Gayle Masterson is also confident heading into the final, telling TheDogs.com.au she expects a bold showing from her sprinter, despite drawing box four.
“The draw is good for him,” Masterson said.
“Box four has never been a problem for him and the straight run to the bend over the 440m at Goulburn suits him.
“This is an open race but if he jumps in front, they’ll have a job to catch him.”
The Goulburn Cup is race seven on the card this Tuesday and is scheduled to jump at 2:15pm.
Goulburn Cup – market
1. Tullabung Rock $15 with Bet365
2. My Boy Rylan $26
3. Clock’s Ticking $4.80
4. Knight Sprite $4.50
5. Let It Develop $4.20
6. El Magnifico $4.80
7. Old Bailey $10
8. Takedown $5
1st Res. Pittsy Lomar $26
2nd Res. Sweetwater Boy $19