Pocket rocket Papi Go Fast will put his remarkable record of never having missed a place in his 25-start career on the line in Saturday night’s Shepparton Classic final (450m) at 8.13pm.
Named after Melbourne Storm flyer Ryan Papenhuyzen, Papi Go Fast, which weighs in at just 28 kilograms, has racked up 16 wins and nine minor placings, including a close third in the Group 1 Silver Chief in January.
“He’s a little powerhouse. He’s all ticker,” said Lara trainer Rob Camilleri.
“He still hasn’t missed a drum in all his starts.”
“He’s so tough and doesn’t show you anything but we found an issue and after fixing that he came out brilliantly in his heat.”
Impeccable box manners and early speed saw Papi Go Fast win 12 of his first 14 starts, so Camilleri knew something wasn’t right when the diminutive son of Fernando Bale uncharacteristically missed the start at his two runs leading into the Shepparton Classic heats.
But after identifying a back issue, Camilleri was relieved to see his $1.30 favourite come out running at his Shepparton debut in the last of three heats, finding the line strongly in a best of night 25.04sec performance.
“He’s always had brilliant box manners so when he missed the start twice in a row I knew that wasn’t him,” Camilleri explained.
“He’s so tough and doesn’t show you anything but we found an issue and after fixing that he came out brilliantly in his heat. Hopefully he can begin like he normally does in the final.
“I think he’s been finishing off his races better too.
“In his heat he pulled away again in the last 30 or 40 metres so hopefully he’s maturing and getting a little bit stronger. If that’s the case he might run a bit quicker over 500m than we thought he would.”
WATCH: Melbourne Storm superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen discusses his greyhound namesake Papi Go Fast on Channel Seven’s ‘Thrill of the Chase’.
Camilleri isn’t fazed about drawing box four in the Classic decider and rates 25.05sec heat winner Music Event, which boasts a perfect five from five record over Shepparton’s 450m course, as the main danger.
“Boxes don’t matter with Papi Go Fast when he’s right,” Camilleri said.
“The heat was his first look at Shepparton and he’s a dog that usually finds at his second look at a track. He only has to find a length and he’ll break 25sec and I think that should be enough to win the race.
“But it’s a very even race and nothing can afford to make a mistake.
“I think Mick Carter’s dog in box five (Music Event) will be hard to beat. It’s a local and will know every grain of sand on the track and has run fast time in town.
“I don’t want to jinx Papi Go Fast but if he comes out and runs 24.80sec on Saturday he’ll definitely have a go at the Shepparton Cup (heats 15 March).
“I’m also thinking about taking him up to Sydney to give him a look at Wentworth Park and see how he goes.”
*The Shepparton Classic will be run at 8.13pm, with the club to also host the Shepparton Matchmakers Final at 7.26pm.
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WATCH: PAPI GO FAST (3) was back to his normal self in his heat, whipping straight to the lead on his way to a 25.04sec Best of Night victory.
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