If Adelaide Cup form is any guide, leading Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi is set to claim a winning double at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Azzopardi expects Whiskey Riot to bounce back from his agonising last-stride defeat in last Friday’s Adelaide Cup Final and also push his claims for a berth in the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun in the Free For All Sprint.
Whiskey Riot led everywhere bar the post in the Adelaide Cup when edged out by boom youngster Hooked On Scotch’s sensational finishing burst.
“I was very proud of our boy running second,” Azzopardi said.
“He did everything he could, he did everything right and Hooked On Scotch was just too good. Hooked On Scotch was unbelievable.
“I reckon it was a bit unfair that the Angle Park distance wasn’t 514m instead of 515m!”
The heartbreaking head defeat was the second time Whiskey Riot has finished runner-up at Group 1 level, having also run second to Sennachie, which ran third in the Adelaide Cup, in the Maturity Classic at The Meadows in July.
Earlier this week, Whiskey Riot was among 30 sprinters invited to nominate for the $150,000 to-the-winner Topgun, which will be held at The Meadows on Saturday, November 9.
“He’s a speed dog, he loves The Meadows and I think he would be a worthy contender in the Topgun,” said Azzopardi.
“He’s run second in two Group 1s, made the Warrnambool Cup Final and won the Shepparton Classic, Warrnambool Summer Sizzle and Rising Stars at Sale. I just hope the Topgun panel recognise it.”
A son of the great Fernando Bale, Whiskey Riot will be striving to enhance his Meadows credentials and prospects of a Topgun call-up in race eight on Saturday’s card, where in-form veteran Barooga Brett and box five shape as his major stumbling blocks.
“Barooga Brett is obviously the one to beat but not being smart, I expect Whiskey Riot to fire on Saturday night,” Azzopardi said.
“The dog is flying and I reckon he’ll run some time too.”
Azzopardi’s other runner at The Meadows, Seal The Deal, also brings outstanding Adelaide form back to Melbourne in the sixth event.
The son of Azzopardi’s former superstar sprinter Zambora Brockie won the Adelaide Cup Consolation in a best of night 29.40s, eclipsing Cup hero Hooked On Scotch’s 29.44s.
“His run on Adelaide Cup night didn’t surprise me at all; he was ready to explode,” Azzopardi said.
“He’s an elite animal and is the faster of my two runners on Saturday night. It’s just that he can miss the start a bit but he showed what he can do when he begins in Adelaide.
“I expect both dogs to win on Saturday night with clear running. I’m quietly confident they can both get the job done.”
Photo by: Kurt Donsberg Greyhound Photography