• Thursday, 28 Apr, 2022,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Opal ‘Rocks’ Million Dollar Chase

An untimely car breakdown could turn into a $1 million blessing in disguise for Mario Briganti and his brilliant young sprinter Big Opal Rocks in the TAB Million Dollar Chase.

Big Opal Rocks was a late scratching from the Group 2 Geelong Gold Cup heats due to vehicle problems on the way to the track, forcing a change of plans that saw the lightly-raced powerhouse head to Sydney for last Saturday’s MDC city qualifiers.

Making his first interstate appearance, Big Opal Rocks lived up to a flying Wentworth Park trial, clocking a Best Of Night 29.64sec, defeating fellow Victorian Zippy Tesla by 2.75L to record his seventh win from 11 starts.

“He’s a special pup. There’s no doubt about that.”

“He went super,” said Devon Meadows-based Mario Briganti.

“He’s a special pup. There’s no doubt about that.

“Sometimes things happen for a reason and the car breaking down might work out in my favour. You never know, it could be a fairy tale.

“He did trial a bit better than he went on Saturday night, but he still ran the Best of the Night.

“There was a bit of buffeting early, but he pushed through nice and once he found the front it was probably game, set and match.

“He had a nasty fall in the Launching Pad heats and after that I think a trip away to a different track, different lure, different noise was good for him. I’m a big believer that a trip away does young dogs the world of good.”

Big Opal Rocks’ prospects of advancing to the Million Dollar Chase final, to be held on Saturday week (May 7), hit a major hurdle when he drew Box 6 for Friday’s eighth ‘must-win’ semi-final, Race 10 at 10.18pm.

The June ’20 son of Kinloch Brae and Red Rocks is $5 with TAB, with local Connections (Box 3) $2.40 favourite.

Click HERE  for TAB’s latest market on Million Dollar Chase semi-finals

“I got excited when I saw a message on Tuesday saying Race 5, Box 1, but then I thought ‘Hang on, that’s Rapaki Rocks at Sandown!’” Briganti quipped.

“With this week being his third look at the track, had he drawn an inside box he was capable of running around 29.30 or 29.40. He trialled 29.50-odd and had never seen the joint.

“I’m not saying he can’t win but he does want the fence, so he’s going to need a lot of luck.

“As good as you are, draws mean a lot, but if he gets any luck early, he’s definitely good enough.

“The main thing is that he gets around safely and it’s a great experience for him with another Million Dollar Chase coming up in a couple of months. I’m not greedy but I’d like to win both of them!”

Big Opal Rocks was one of two Victorians successful in last weekend’s MDC city qualifiers, with Boston Garden, trained by Jeff Britton, clocking 29.81sec.

The major talking point was superstar Wow She’s Fast ($1.40 favourite), airborne last start winner of the G3 Launching Pad at Sandown for Kel and Jackie Greenough, being run down by Perth Cup winner Vice Grip in 29.72sec.

Victoria will be represented in seven of Friday night’s eight MDC semi-finals:

Semi 1: Lala Kiwi (3)
Semi 2: Equalizer (5)
Semi 3: Zippy Tesla (1), Handsome Rhino (2)
Semi 4: Wow She’s Fast (4), Photo Man (Box 6), Zara’s Ivan (8)
Semi 6: Xavien Bale (2)
Semi 7: Boston Garden (6), Indy Matilda (9)
Semi 8: Daph’s Ascend (2), Do It (5), Big Opal Rocks (6)

Big Opal Rocks was a Best Of Night 29.64sec winner at his Wentworth Park debut.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

Gerard Guthrie

One of Australia’s leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)

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