Champion trainer Anthony Azzopardi has scaled greyhound racing’s highest summits several times – particularly with litter brothers Whiskey Riot (G1 Melbourne Cup) and Fernando’s Riot (G1 Australian Cup).
The ascent isn’t nearly as steep with his rising star Aston Titan – but, regardless, Azzopardi is enjoying the ‘climb’!
Aston Titan (Box 1) lines up in Heat 5 (Race 8, 9.27pm) of the G2 Geelong Gold Cup (460m) on Friday night and Azzopardi is cautiously optimistic.
“He’s no world-beater… He’s a nice city dog who might pinch a good race if he gets lucky,” Azzopardi said. “I’ve mentioned to his owner (Ray Borda) that if I can get his confidence sky high, he could win a big race. He’s a good chaser and early pace is his ‘weapon’.”
Aston Titan (Jan ’19 Fernando Bale x Fantastic Dotty) has won 11 races from 26 starts, including his past three. At his most recent start, he claimed a $7000 first prize in the Autumn Classic (450m) on Ballarat Cup night.
Last month, Aston Titan really started hitting his straps – also contesting the Shepparton Classic final – and Azzopardi says he’s earned a crack at his first Group race series.
“The penny has really dropped… He was getting some bad box draws, but now he’s got his confidence back,” Azzopardi said. “He was also very puppyish but has grown into an adult. There was a bit of ‘stop and start’ as he’s been slow to mature.”
Azzopardi rates Aston Titan “a few lengths off the topliners” but is quietly confident, being drawn on the inside, Aston Titan can “hold them out” in his heat.
“It’s not an easy race, I reckon it’s one of the hardest heats,” he said. “Kuro Kismet (Box 8) is racing in top form, having won the Launching Pad, and local Weblec Jet (Box 4) will be hard to beat. And I also respect Well Grounded (Box 2), as his last-start win at Sandown (29.23sec) was outstanding.”
WATCH: Rising star Aston Titan (2) claims the Autumn Classic during last week’s Ballarat Cup meeting.
The Geelong Gold Cup is part of greyhound racing’s inaugural Western Festival of Racing. Read more HERE
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