Young trainer Mark Giddings is optimistic that Lioness Lulu can continue her remarkable rags to riches rise through the staying ranks in the Group 1 Association Cup at Saturday night’s Golden Easter Egg meeting.
Giddings, 22, had his first runner in a Group 1 event last month when Lioness Lulu ran third in the Superstayers on Australian Cup night.
Giddings purchased Lioness Lulu for just $2,000 after she’d had a dozen starts for only a maiden win at Bendigo.
Giddings and his bargain buy will once again take centre-stage on one of Australian greyhound racing’s greatest occasions after Lioness Lulu was an upset winner of her Association Cup heat, running in a slick 42.09sec at $24.
“It’s pretty good fun but there’s a bit more pressure this time,” Giddings said.
“Just being in the Superstayers was a huge thrill and she was 100/1 but she’s second or third favourite for the Association Cup,”
“I thought she showed enough in the Superstayers to warrant going up to Sydney and I was surprised she was such big odds in her heat. She was only beaten about four lengths by Star Recall in the Superstayers and Star Recall was $1.40 in the Association Cup heat.”
“I didn’t think Lioness Lulu deserved to be such a big price. I was confident she could run a place and qualify for the final but I wasn’t sure about some of the NSW form. She ran really well and that’s the best she’s finished off a 700 so far. I was really pleased with the way she ran away from Whittaker in the home straight.”
“I think one of the Victorians will probably win the race and we’re going up there really optimistic ” – Mark Giddings
Lioness Lulu provided the first leg of a Victorian clean-sweep of the Association Cup heats, with the other two run-offs won by Joe Borg’s Come On Fantasy in 41.92sec and Jeff Britton’s Dublin Bull in 42.26sec.
“I think one of the Victorians will probably win the race and we’re going up there really optimistic,” Giddings said.
“I was worried because she gets a bit stressed when she travels but she travelled really well and she’s pulled up a treat so she’s ready to rumble.”
A Group 1 victory would put Giddings, a former GRV steward who took up training in early 2013, on the map in a big way, while there’s no doubt the $75,000 winner’s purse would also come in very handy.
“Lioness Lulu had been sacked by six trainers before I got her,” Giddings explained.
“She always had ability but she had a real stressy temperament. There’s a lot of good staying races coming up – there’s another race at Wentworth Park (Gold Cup) and the Sandown Cup – so I’m hoping Lioness Lulu can put a deposit on a house for me over the next few months.”
With Lioness Lulu on the third line of betting at $6 in the TAB’s Fixed Odds Association Cup market, Giddings might only have to wait days and not months for that house deposit!
WATCH: Lioness Lulu take out her heat of the Group 1 $103,000 Association Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night in Sydney.