Powerhouse youngster Aston Kimetto brought back memories of his champion mother Sweet It Is with a barnstorming last-to-first victory in the Group 2 Pet Panels Geelong Gold Cup Final (460m) on Friday night.
Trained by Seona Thompson and raced by Ray Borda, last year’s Melbourne Cup-winning combination, Aston Kimetto is bred in the purple, with his dam Sweet It Is one of the greatest stayers Australian greyhound racing has seen and renowned for her paralysing finishing bursts.
“I think this was his best win to date,” said a delighted Jason Thompson, Seona’s husband.
“To come from as far behind as he did and get there on the line over 460 metres is a huge effort.”
Aston Kimetto wasted little time living up to his regal bloodlines when winning the Group 3 Warragul St Leger in August at just his sixth start, after which Jason Thompson labelled him as one of the most exciting dogs the Thompson family has had.
The boom prospect was then beaten at his next five starts, with box manners his worst enemy, however he’s now back on track after claiming the second Group trophy of his brief career in the $47,000 to-the-winner Geelong Cup.
Aston Kimetto made his first appearance at Geelong in the heats, when scoring in 25.56sec, and after drawing box three for Friday’s finale he shared the second line of betting at $5.90 with Slingshot Hammer, behind $2.20 favourite Orson Allen.
Aston Kimetto settled a clear last as outsider Speed Star ($15.10) led, with punters’ elect Orson Allen perfectly poised in second.
Orson Allen hit the lead in the home straight and a deserved Group breakthrough seemed to be within his grasp, before Aston Kimetto sprouted wings to arrive in the shadows of the post, edging out Orson Allen by .13 of a length in 25.45sec, his eighth win from 15 starts.
“In the early stages it was a bit of a worry, he had every runner in front of him and I didn’t think he was positioned well enough,” Jason Thompson said.
“Heading into the first corner he was still in last position, it was a huge effort for him to come away with this win.
“He is getting a lot smarter now. He used to take every opportunity to head to the fence but he was able to win this Cup from the outside.
“We are hoping to head to the Shootout with him at Sandown. The four-dog field would really suit him and I think it would be an ideal lead up into the Melbourne Cup.”
One night earlier, Aston Kimetto’s litter sister Often Imitated, trained by Brad Greenough, set Sandown Park alight when posting a best of night 29.40sec in a TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude.
In other feature action from Geelong Cup night, Ashlee Terry celebrated a second Derby victory with her outstanding Barcia Bale – Father Of Mine litter with favourite Pure White Evil successful in 30.10sec.
Terry won the Group 3 SA Derby in September with Nervous An Weird and also won the SA Oaks on the same night with another littermate, My American Girl.
Terry’s hopes of another Derby-Oaks double at Geelong were dashed when My American Girl could only finish third to Jeff Britton’s 29.91sec winner Mepunga Bella.
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* Compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Molly Haines. Photos by Clint Anderson.