Seven years after leaving Malta for Australia, Creswick hobby trainer Stefano Cassar says he’s “living the dream” and preparing his small team of greyhounds is a huge part of that.
In 2016, Cassar, 37, enjoyed immediate success with the very first greyhound he owned or trained, Caco Potion, qualifying for the Group 1 Bold Trease on Melbourne Cup night.
Together with wife, Pasqalia, who also holds a trainers license, Cassar currently has six race dogs in work and he’ll be taking aim at his second straight Horsham double on Saturday night with Deep Dive (race 2) and Big Don’t Argue (race 8).
“We’re on ten acres here, which would be impossible in Malta because it’s so small – it’s only 27 kilometres from one end to the other – and densely populated,” Cassar explained.
“We only have a small team. I work full-time as a mechanical engineer so my wife and I do the dogs together. I wouldn’t be able to do it myself, and our two kids, one is almost four and the other is six months, enjoy the dogs too.
“The last time we raced at Horsham, we took two dogs, Big Don’t Argue and Mighty Marshall, which is in my wife’s name, and they both got up so it would be lovely if we could do it again this weekend.”
The consistent Big Don’t Argue has won two of his last three and eight from 30 overall, but will have to do everything right to upset Correy Grenfell’s Bendigo Cup winner Yozo Bale, a best of night winner at Ballarat on Wednesday.
“He’s going okay and he’s got a good strike rate but he’s a bit injury prone,” Cassar said of Big Don’t Argue.
“I’ve been impressed with the way he’s won his last couple of races. He’s really had to fight for it. He only went 23.55s at Horsham but it was the way he won it.
“It’s a tough race. Yozo Bale ran 25.14s at Ballarat last night (Wednesday) and will be hard to beat.
“Big Don’t Argue is a bit hit and miss at the start. He gets a bit excited and the way they’re boxing them at the moment doesn’t help but if jumps he can run a race because he’s a fighter and a good, honest chaser.”
Earlier in the night, Cassar is hoping Deep Dive, which he also owns, can make it two from two after winning on debut at Warrnambool.
“She’s only learning,” Cassar said.
“She needs the outside because she tends to go off the track a bit when she gets out of the boxes but she’s drawn box three.
“She’s quite strong so I think she’ll be finishing off pretty well and she should be in the money somewhere.”