‘Comeback king’ Aeroplane Eric capped off an amazing return to racing with victory in tonight’s $67,000 Group 2 Evans Petroleum Warragul Cup (460m).
He turned the tables on superstar Shima Shine, who defeated him in track record time in last week’s heats.
It’s been a fantastic training effort by Devon Meadows trainer Glenn Rounds to get Aeroplane Eric back on the track after twice breaking a stopper bone.
The lightly raced flying machine, who had a four-month spell between August and December, has been brilliant in four starts since resuming. But his $47,000 first prize collect in Warragul GRC’s blue riband sprint was the icing on the cake!
WATCH: AEROPLANE ERIC (1) zipped past early pacesetter ASTON GWEN (2) before holding off the fast-finishing EQUALIZER (8) and the unlucky SHIMA SHINE (6) to take out tonight’s Group 2 Warragul Cup.
Utilising Box 1 to perfection, Aeroplane Eric ($4.40) held off the barnstorming finish of ‘new kid on the block’ Equalizer ($7.60) by a half-length, with the unlucky Shima Shine ($2.20F) three and a half lengths away third in 25.44sec.
Equalizer’s performance was phenomenal, while G1 Topgun winner Shima Shine was also gallant.
Owned by the Wasted syndicate, managed by Warragul-based Jason Woodbridge, Aeroplane Eric (March 2018 Knocka Norris x Lonesome Jett) registered his 10th win from 19 starts and his prizemoney spiralled to $74,299.
A nervous and tired Aeroplane Eric reduced Rounds to saying: “There’s been a lot of time and healing, and we don’t know what’s around the corner.” But he had said in the lead-up to the final that Aeroplane Eric was “a big chance and he deserves it”.
Rounds also had Amarillo Highway ($42.30), who finished fourth, in the final.
Meanwhile, Faithy Bale ($1.80) upset ‘ultimate professional’ Tiggerlong Tonk ($1.50F) in a sensational $10,000-winner-take-all Cup Night Match Race (460m). The dynamic duo was locked together during the entire journey.
Trained by Andrea Dailly, Faithy Bale defeated Tiggerlong Tonk – a seven-time G1 finalist – by a half-length in 25.77sec.
WATCH: FAITHY BALE (1) shows enormous character to hold off the mighty TIGGERLONG TONK (3) in a thrilling Cup Night Match Race at Warragul this evening, much to the surprise of the majority of punters.
Faithy Bale – a finalist in the G2 Warrnambool Cup (4th), G3 Cup Night Sprint (5th) and G3 Silver Bullet (6th) – notched her 21st win from 56 starts, with stakes totalling $134,615.
And classy stayer Sunset Bourbski claimed the $10,000-to-the-winner Warragul Distance Cup (680m).
Trained by Andrea Dailly, Sunset Bourbski ($2.00F) scored a miraculous win, coming from last with around 400 metres to travel to defeat kennelmate Zipping Ticket ($7.60) by one and a half lengths in 39.02sec.
The dual G1 finalist notched her 14th win from 43 starts and lifted her earnings to $120,450. It was also her fourth win in six starts from Box 2.
WATCH: SUNSET BOURBSKI (2) makes up more than 10 lengths to score an incredible victory in the Warragul Distance Cup.
Pawnote: The Warragul Cup was the second of three group races tied into greyhound racing’s 2020/21 Gippsland Festival of Racing, along with the G1 Sale Cup (650m) – won in eye-catching fashion by Houdini Boy on Boxing Day – and the G2 Cranbourne Cup (520m) to be held on 6 February.
Photos by Clint Anderson