Rowsley trainer Anthony Azzopardi was celebrating with ‘Pork’ and ‘Pilsner’ at Healesville today.
He now has a dual chance for back-to-back Group 3 TAB Healesville Cups (350m) courtesy of Short Pork and Aston Pilsner following their outstanding heat wins today. Azzopardi won last year’s Healesville Cup with Myrniong And All.
Short Pork ($5.70) clocked 18.97sec, while Aston Pilsner ($2.80F) semaphored 19.06sec.
A G1 Harrison-Dawson finalist, Short Pork recorded his 20th win from 46 starts. He has either won or been placed at his past eight starts.
Aston Pilsner recorded his eighth win from 22 starts. Three starts ago, he was a flying 21.59sec winner over 385m at Shepparton.
‘As good as it gets’ was an apt way to describe the electrifying action with seven of the eight heat winners, including Short Port and Aston Pilsner, being straight track debutants. The others were Out Of Sprite, Zambora Lou, Tiggerlong Tonk, Tin Shed Fred and Paua Of Oscar.
And the biggest ‘straight’ talker was four-time G1 finalist Tiggerlong Tonk, who posted the fastest heat time of 18.93sec.
Trained by Correy Grenfell, Tiggerlong Tonk ($1.40F) notched his 26th win from 50 starts. It was also his fifth win from his past seven outings. The ultimate professional is now chasing his second group race victory, having won the G2 Horsham Cup.
The Jason Thompson-trained Zambora Lou ($1.70F) was the equal third fastest qualifier with Short Pork, semaphoring a slick 18.97sec win. He has now won 12 races from 21 starts, including four of his past seven. Thompson won the 2013 Healesville Cup with El Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, Tin Shed Fred ($6.60) was the second fastest heat winner in a stunning 18.95sec. He made it three wins in a row defeating dual G1-winning sprint queen Black Opium ($3.70) by a half-length and has proven the ‘surprise packet’ of the series for trainer David Kerr.
Trained by Steve White, Paua Of Oscar ($2.40) became an omen bet after his heat was delayed due to a ‘power’ failure.
He was briefly hailed the “next big thing” after equalling Warragul’s 400m track record (22.07sec) at only his fourth start. And he was back to his brilliant best defeating G2 Shepparton Cup winner Hard Style Rico ($2.10F) by one and three-quarter lengths in 19.00sec. It was his eighth win from 14 starts.
Other heat winners were Out Of Sprite (19.17) and Broken Drum (19.19).
The Healesville Racing Carnival concludes on Sunday, September 6, with the $47,000-to-the-winner G3 Healesville Cup final.