The Cup Night Match Race (450m) – a support feature on tomorrow night’s Group 2 Shepparton Cup final fixture – makes for an intriguing sideshow.
Ironically, the dynamic duo ran 1-2 in the G2 Warragul Cup final (460m) on January 16. On that occasion, Aeroplane Eric ($4.40) staved off the paralysing finishing burst of Equalizer ($7.20) to prevail by a 0.5L in a flying 25.44sec. Shima Shine ($2.20F) was a further 3.5L away third.
Both have had two starts over the track/distance, with Aeroplane Eric registering a 25.12sec PB on August 6 last year, while Equalizer is yet to win at Shepparton.
Both finished fourth in their respective Shepparton Cup heat on Monday – Aeroplane Eric clocked an overall time of 25.20sec and Equalizer posted 25.46sec.
Aeroplane Eric has won four of his past six starts, while Equalizer has contested three group race finals in his past eight starts.
So, who wins the ‘Shepparton Showdown’?
AEROPLANE ERIC – BOX 1
(Mar ’18 Knocka Norris x Lonesome Jett)
Trainer: Glenn Rounds (Devon Meadows)
The Watchdog Odds: $3.40
Starts: 20: 10-3-3
Group Race Record: Winner: G2 Warragul Cup; Finalist: G2 WA Derby
Trainer says: “He has to lead to win… He sits off the rails and could give Equalizer a dream run. He may be a ‘sitting duck’. He pulled up lame after the Warragul Cup, so I expect him to strip fitter… The Cup heat was his first race for two months; he’ll be all the better for it. We just want to get him racing again. I’m quite happy to be in it… You don’t race for $10,000 every day.”
EQUALIZER – BOX 3
(Dec ’18 KC And All x Captivating)
Trainer: Jason Thompson (Pearcedale)
The Watchdog Odds: $1.30
Starts: 31: 12-7-2
Group Race Record: Runner-up: G2 Warragul Cup & G2 Cranbourne Cup; Finalist: G1 Silver Chief
Trainer says: “The other dog (Aeroplane Eric) has a lot of ability… Equalizer is going to have to come out a lot better than he has been. He’s going to have to run him down. He can’t afford to do anything wrong, but there’ll be no excuses. It should be a good contest as he’s up against a very quick dog. His racing pattern is coming from behind, so 450 metre is not ideal for him.”
WATCH: Aeroplane Eric (1) does enough to hold off a fast-finish Equalizer (8) in the 2021 Warragul Cup Final in January.
Rounds and Thompson give their thoughts on the Shepparton Cup…
“Ferdinand Boy (Box 8) might get away with it. He may be the one that gets a clear run. He’s got that brilliant speed over the first two sections of a race. However, Catch The Thief (Box 2) should be better for his first run after eight weeks off. But if I was betting, I’d have something on the ‘eight’” – GLENN ROUNDS
“I expect my runner, Catch The Thief (Box 2), to run well… If he goes to the front, he’ll be hard to run down. He was a bit ‘rusty’ going into his heat… I’m hoping he doesn’t miss the kick like last week. I reckon the dangers are Barooga Smoke (Box 5) and Ferdinand Boy (Box 8), who is the best boxed dog in the race” – JASON THOMPSON
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