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Rocky start no problem for Harrison-Dawson winner

Rapaki Rocks powered to a sensational victory in the $152,500 Group 1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park tonight, coming from near last to claim the $100,000 first prize.

The fastest heat winner started the punter’s elect however favourite backers would have had their hearts in their mouths as the son of Kinloch Brae and Red Rocks missed the start from box 2.

Improving to fifth with a lap to run, Rapaki Rocks ($3.60) again showed the excellent track sense that won him his heat, railing strongly through the field before switching to the outside of early leader Kinson Bale down the back straight.

Kinson Bale, who was placed in the Melbourne Cup six months earlier, refused to give in however Rapaki Rocks had all of the momentum as they swung for home and powered to a 2½ length victory in 29.34sec. Here Comes Pie ran an eye-catching third, a further length away.

“You never like to seeing them miss the start but it probably worked in his favour actually because they jammed up on the corner,” said winning trainer Mario Briganti.

“He uses his track sense, he’s a very smart dog in a field. He’s come a long way in a short time.”

WATCH: RAPAKI ROCKS (B2) overcame a tardy start and plenty of road blocks before soaring to victory in the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park tonight in 29.34sec.

Rapaki Rocks took nine starts to win his maiden but since breaking through for that first win, has now gone on to six of his last 10, missing a place just once.

Handler Ned McDonald was full of praise for Briganti and the job he’s done getting the 23 month old to the dais in one of the club’s premier events.

“Credit to Mario, he’s a great trainer. The dog was primed and did his best work late. It was a good watch,” he said.

“The dog just chased his heart out, it’s a great result for the team. (Mario) is one of the best. He’s a good mentor for me, he’s one of the best there is.”

Briganti was non-comital about where his newest group 1 winner will race next but did indicated a Queensland campaign is a possibility for Rapaki Rocks, as well as littermates Big Opal Rocks and Black Spartacus.

The Harrison-Dawson, named after former Sandown GRC Chairmen Henry Harrison and Geoff Dawson, was one of three group 1 finals held at Sandown Park tonight, along with the Sapphire Crown (won by Wow She’s Fast) and the RSN Sandown Cup (Untapped).

Rapaki Rocks wins the Harrison-Dawson. Photos by Clint Anderson.

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About Mick Floyd - Mick Floyd is a freelance writer with more than 15 years’ experience in the sporting media.
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