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High anxiety

Lights, cameras, action…There’s nothing like a Group 1 Melbourne Cup final to create a few ‘butterflies’ and get the blood pumping!

Pictured above is the scene behind the boxes last Friday night at Sandown Park, with the jittery finalists’ trainers and handlers watching their speedsters chase fame and fortune.

And it’s not just a $435,000 first prize that causes ‘high anxiety’ – the Melbourne Cup just happens to be the sport’s ‘Holy Grail’.

Angela Langton (foreground), who trains runner-up Western Envoy, reveals a facial expression that’s worth bottling, while the body language of Anthony Azzopardi (centre) says it all. He prepares winner Whiskey Riot who raced into greyhound racing ‘Greatness’.

“I felt like I was having heart palpitations even when I was putting him (Whiskey Riot) into the boxes. My legs where shaking, it’s never happened to me prior to a big race and I’ll never forget the feeling. I actually felt sick in the stomach.

“When he was in front on the first turn, I was looking where Hooked On Scotch was, and he wasn’t far off. I lost a bit of confidence when Western Envoy challenged him at the middle-distance boxes, and for moment I was pretty quiet. But when Angela (Langton) started cheering for Western Envoy she got me going, and turning for home that’s when the excitement revved up to the roof!”

WATCH: Tension was high behind the boxes as Whiskey Riot held off Western Envoy to claim the 2019 TAB Melbourne Cup for Anthony Azzopardi.

WATCH: Whiskey Riot (3) gave trainer Anthony Azzopardi his biggest success in the sport – and ‘high anxiety’ – securing the Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup

Whiskey Riot (rail) hangs on to defeat Western Envoy (5) and Hooked On Scotch (8).

Whiskey Riot (rail) hangs on to defeat Western Envoy (5) and Hooked On Scotch (8).

Photos by: Clint Anderson.

Peter Quilty
About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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