The dreaded visitor’s draw hoodoo didn’t apply to Western Australian raider Campini when boxes were allocated for Friday night’s Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup Final.
Campini burst into Cup calculations with a stunning heat victory, coming from behind to upset series favourite Shima Shine in a fast 29.26s, and the good news continued for connections at Sunday’s all-important box draw.
After drawing box one for only the third time in his career, Campini has been heavily supported in TAB’s Melbourne Cup market and is now the $5 second elect behind record-breaking heat winner Hooked On Scotch, the $1.90 favourite.
“I’ve always said I wanted a dog good enough to be in a Melbourne Cup so it’s very exciting and then to draw the box we need gives us a sniff,” part-owner Peter Cameron said.
“He’s desperate for an inside draw. He’s only had box one twice in 36 starts and he’s won both times so it’s perfect timing.
“If he’d drawn any wider against this quality of opposition he would have been up against it but from box one you can make a case for him.”
Drawing the rails is a welcome change of fortune for Campini, which has exited box six in the Perth Cup and box eight in the National Sprint Championship at his two previous Group 1 attempts.
“He hasn’t had any luck with draws when it matters and then when he drew box five against Shima Shine last week I thought Shima Shine would win for sure,” Cameron offered.
“I was a bit surprised when he lobbed so close behind Shima Shine and then when he hit the front I got pretty excited!
“He came over to Melbourne for the Speed Star in September but wasn’t quite right and we probably expected a little bit more. But the main idea was to give him some experience at Sandown with the aim of coming back for the Melbourne Cup.
“The dog is flying – he’s the fastest dog I’ve ever had – but his traits mean he needs a bit of luck in his races. We’ll just cross the fingers and hope the fairy tale continues!”
While Campini has been transferred to Devon Meadows trainer Glenn Rounds for his Melbourne Cup campaign, his owners have made it very clear he’s flying for the flag for WA and as such is the lone interstate contender.
“Mick Floyd from Sandown said to me that if Campini wins the Cup we’re claiming him as a Victorian but I told him he’s a Western Australian that was bred in NSW,” Cameron quipped.
“He’s done the majority of his racing in WA so it would definitely be a WA win.”
Cameron, who owns Campini with George Pispini and WA race caller Ryan Levitzke and wife Cass, is no stranger to success in Victoria, racing 2018 Bendigo Cup winner Vanderworp with 16 schoolmates.
He also heads up Team Cameron in the National Greyhound Draft, with his number one selection from 2018, Wallbanger, winning six of his first 11 starts.
“It’s more fun racing dogs with friends. Going to the track together and celebrating together,” said Cameron.
“Campini’s name is a mixture of the surnames Cameron and Pispini but it’s also the name of a jet engine, so he’s pretty well named.
“I think the draft concept is fantastic. It gives people that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to buy dogs of that quality access they wouldn’t normally have.”