‘King of the Australian Cup Carnival’, Anthony Azzopardi is buoyant about his chances in the Group 2 CKH Painting Shepparton Cup series (450m), which kicks off with six heats tonight from 8.04pm.
And who could blame Azzopardi for his optimism considering he has champion speedster Whiskey Riot in the rich provincial event.
Dual Group 1 winner Whiskey Riot (Box 4) will contest Heat 5 (Race 8, 9.25pm), and he’s undefeated from two starts on this circuit – including a 24.85sec PB, which is only a half-length off the 24.82sec track record held jointly by Slater and Cape Hawke.
Azzopardi says Whiskey Riot has “pulled up a treat” following his third to litter brother and kennelmate Fernando’s Riot in the G1 Australian Cup.
“I’ve kept him away from the racing scene since the Australian Cup… I didn’t want to risk him during this period of canine gastroenteritis,” Azzopardi said.
Azzopardi added that Whiskey Riot trialled 25.02sec last Thursday at Shepparton but needed the run as he’s only been working at home.
“He’s ready to go and I couldn’t be happier… Everything is ticking along nicely.”
Tonight’s six heat winners and two fastest second place getters will qualify for the Shepparton Cup final on Saturday night.
WATCH: Whiskey Riot (4) land an Australian Cup heat in a sizzling 29.47sec (Best).