Australia’s staying ranks have been put on notice after Rippin’ Sam unleashed a powerful performance last night at Sandown Park.
He was unsurprisingly slow to begin though with clear running quickly found himself at the pointy end of the field. By the time they reached the back straight Rippin’ Sam took control of the race with the fancied Azkaban in pursuit. Rippin’ Sam maintained the margin to defeat Azkaban by 4¼ lengths in a fast time of 41.56.
Jointly trained by Rob Britton and Brendan Pursell, Rippin’ Sam has relished the step up to 715m. He won on his racing debut then had to wait 10 starts for his next win, when eventually stepping up to the staying trip.
“We were hoping he’d become a stayer, but you never know until you try. We gave him a couple of trials from the 715m boxes, him and Saint David were trialling together and the sectionals were real good. They both looked like they were going to be stayers, but he’s (Rippin’ Sam) gone to another level,” said Pursell.
His lack of early speed is no secret, however his power after that can’t be questioned.
“His post-to-post times are fast. One day he went well at Geelong, six lengths quicker than what Fanta Bale ran at the same stage of her career.”
Rippin’ Sam has just the 14 career starts under his belt and already looks to be a staying star of the future. Already a popular talent, Pursell believes there may still be improvement to come.
“He’s only 22 months old, there’s no reason why he can’t improve. Most greyhounds improve from this stage onwards, the sky’s the limit for him.”
“The hardest part was getting him to Grade 5 level. We were lucky that a novice race over 715m came up here (at Sandown), luckily he won that then we thought where are we going to go next. It was a matter of getting him to Grade 5, because once we got him there the opportunities open up.”
While assisting the Rob Britton kennel Pursell has been a part of some of the sport’s biggest races, including last month’s Hobart 1000 won by their own Rock Up Top. He says he’s typically cool and calm behind the boxes, though feels the butterflies when Rippin’ Sam is set to strut his stuff.
“I actually get nervous when he races. I’ve handled in group races and they don’t worry me. I get nervous with him because he has so much potential.”
Click here for last night’s results