JOHN McCarthy is hopeful of an improved performance from his promising sprinter Rather Dapper when he lines up in Thursday night’s Group 2 Queensland Derby (520m) at Albion Park.
The son of Dyna Lachlan and Pearl Za Zinger ran second in his heat last week behind Captain Til, the first time he had finished in the money in three starts around Albion Park.
However, the black and white dog has shown enormous potential racing around Ipswich, clocking 30.26 over the 520m trip and qualifying for both the Group 2 Vince Curry Maiden and the Group 2 Ipswich Auction series.
Despite having no luck in either final, McCarthy says Rather Dapper is improving with every start.
“The dog has got a lot of raw ability – he made the Vince Curry Maiden final and he made the Ipswich Auction series final – but he probably hasn’t been the best race dog up until now,” McCarthy told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He was favourite in the Vince Curry and he and his brother Slick were the favourites in the Ipswich Auction.
“We didn’t get the results there and I am certain he won’t be the favourite this week so hopefully it’s a reverse result.”
Prior to his heat performance, McCarthy trialled Rather Dapper around Albion Park after he had failed to fire at headquarters at his two previous starts.
The plan seemed to work, with Rather Dapper clocking a handy 30.23 when beaten just under two lengths on the line.
McCarthy concedes he will need some luck to feature in the $40,000 race on Thursday night, but believes his charge is good enough to run a bold race.
“He is still learning how to race and I think last week in his heat was the best that he has handled Albion Park.
“At first he didn’t take to there at all – he was trying to get off the track all the time but last week he stuck in close to the fence so I am hoping that the penny has dropped and that the one box may suit him in the final this week.”
“He trialled really well there the week before the Derby heats and he stuck to the rail so we decided to put him in – thankfully he was good enough on the night to make the final and now we have just got to wait and see what happens.
“In his heat he came down in the boxes and went to go just before the lids opened. That caused him to miss the start – but once he gets the timing right and steps on terms with them then I think we will see the best of him.
“Looking at the first sectionals of all the winners there last week there was very little between them all, so going into the first turn is going to be crucial.
“If he steps with them and he brings his best then he is going to be very competitive.”
The Group 2 Queensland Derby is race seven at Albion Park on Thursday night.