Outside Pass a leading shot to be crowned the Sapphire champion
OUTSIDE Pass will be looking for redemption on Thursday night when she lines up in a heat of the Group 1 Sapphire Crown (515m) at Sandown Park.
Trained in Queensland by Tony Apap, Outside Pass was far from disgraced at her first official start at Sandown last week, winning her heat of the Group 3 Bill Collins Speed Star in 29.25 after colliding with the leader, Major Jackpot, around the home turn.
The time saw her finish second overall behind the series winner, Blazin' Bomber, which registered 29.09 earlier in the night.
“I was very happy with her. She improved on her first section from her trial and the dog she was up against (Major Jackpot) had brilliant first and second sectionals and she couldn't keep up with him,” Apap told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She gave him four lengths up the back and was able to take the ground off him, but unfortunately she ran up his backside around the home turn.
“I'm not saying she would have beaten the winner's time, but I do think she would have gone very close if she didn't get into trouble.”
Her most recent performance followed a scintillating Speed Star qualifying trial on April 28 where she clocked 29.10 at her first look at the track.
“Before I trialled her at Sandown a few people asked me what I thought she would run first up and I said she had a big motor and that she would probably get down to around 29.25-29.30,” Apap said.
“They looked at me funny as if to say ‘that is a big motor', but then she came out and ran 29.10 and they couldn't believe it.”
Apap said her run in the Speed Star showed just how tenacious Outside Pass is, with the daughter of Head Bound and Tina's Show overcoming a mishap at the track the week prior to showcase her best.
“When she trialled the 29.10 she was coming back past the 600m boxes and they closed and the noise from the air compressor really scared her – she pulled the bloke over who caught her – she got a very big fright.
“To then go back there after that and do what she did in the Speed Star proves she is a very good chaser.”
Outside Pass has won eight of her 19 career starts to date with a further four minor placings, with the 29.5 kilogram bitch having raced some of the best chasers from around the country throughout her limited career.
In March, Outside Pass finished fifth in the final of the Group 2 Richmond Oaks behind Mitcharlie Mia before heading to the Harbour City where she clocked a best of night 29.63 in a heat of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park.
The black bitch is the joint $6 favourite with Bet365 to take out the $100,000 final on May 19, with a top two finish in this Thursday's qualifier required to keep your bet alive moving into the decider.
Outside Pass will jump from box one in the second of four Sapphire Crown heats this Thursday. The $2.40 favourite to win her heat, she will meet a classy field including the likes of Benta Bale (box three), Lyka Allen (box five) and Cash In Motion (box six), but Apap says she has the ability to match her rivals with a bit of luck.
“None of the heats are easy, we are racing in a group 1 series, but she has come up with box one which shouldn't be too bad for her.
“I would have preferred to see her in the eight, but box one would have been my second pick.
“I don't think there is too much pace in the two or the three, so hopefully they leave her alone early because she takes a little while to get her momentum up.
“Once she gets going she goes very good. I think she should go well, but she has still got to have a bit of luck – it is all good to have a dog with a big motor but you still need luck in the race to be able to use it.”
Apap, who has been travelling back and forth between runs, says Outside Pass has handled the travel exceptionally well and believes a change of scenery from her local track, Albion Park, is doing her the world of good.
“We have been coming back to Queensland the next day each time and we are on our way back down (to Victoria) today (Tuesday).
“I wanted to go down a day early this time to give her a full day of rest tomorrow before the race.
“She has handled it all terrific, the travel hasn't affected her at all otherwise I wouldn't be going back.
“We took her to Sydney (for the Golden Easter Egg) and she was down there for a week or so and she thrived on it.
“The different surroundings and racing at a different track – I think it helped her instead of the same old thing at Albion Park each week where she was getting knocked around.
“At this stage I couldn't be any happier with her.”
Group 1 Sapphire Crown – all-in market
Folio Bale – $6
Nymeria – $6
Outside Pass – $6 with Bet365
Shared Equity – $6
It's All Talk – $8
Benta Bale – $10
Star Torana – $10
Cash In Motion – $13
Alpha Demeter – $15
Steel The Best – $21
Zipping Lilly – $21
Lyka Allen – $26
Fantastic Skye – $26
Dash Of Rose – $26
Sausage Sizzle – $26
Fantastic Roxy – $26
Banjo Bewdy – $51
Mepunga Fame – $51
Shima Song – $51
Sailaway Jackie – $51
Ima Misha Doll – $51
It's A Bird – $51
Tap Out Rose – $81
Polijuice Potion – $101
Narralee – $101
Headline – $101
Silky Sock – $151
Dean's Gadget – $151
Skate Thin Ice – $151
Panic Station – $151
Abscond – $201
Miss Rossi – $201
Moonlit Wings – $201
Brazen Bomber – $201
Emily Jane – $251
Fiorelli Rose – $251
Sweet Barbados – $251
Flywheel Magic – $501
Simply Elite – $501
Long View Belle – $1001