Prodigious talent Aston Fastnet delivered on his huge potential and justified champion trainer Jason Thompson’s pre-race confidence with a barnstorming victory in the Group 3 Warragul St. Leger final (460m) on Saturday night.
It was the second time in four years the powerful Thompson kennel has combined with prominent SA-based owner/breeder Ray Borda to land the St. Leger, with Thompson’s wife Seona having prepared 2018 victor Aston Kimetto.
Aston Fastnet, a well-bred KC And All x Aston Miley litter brother to another potential superstar in Aston Rupee, was the fastest qualifier for the $25,000 to-the-winner St. Leger after a 25.39sec heat victory.
Aston Fastnet then drew box eight, from where he blew the start disastrously in last month’s G1 Maturity Classic final at The Meadows as the $4 favourite; however Thompson was bullish about his prospects, telling GRV Media during the week that he “really liked him on Saturday”.
In a star-studded line-up, boom speedster Koblenz, also chasing a breakthrough Group success, started $2.80 favourite, ahead of Aston Fastnet at $3.90, Shima Classic at $4.10 and dual G1 winner Qwara Bale at $6.
Qwara Bale and $34 outsider Keep It Blue were best to begin, with Koblenz driving through to join Qwara Bale entering the home straight, while as Jason Thompson had predicted pre-race, Aston Fastnet was ominously poised in third.
Koblenz got the better of Qwara Bale but had no answer to the powerhouse finish of Aston Fastnet, which charged clear to score by two lengths in 25.68sec, with Shima Classic claiming third ahead of kennelmate Qwara Bale.
It was Aston Fastnet’s third win from four starts at Warragul and improved his overall record to 11 from 23.
Things didn’t go according to plan for Jason Thompson at The Meadows on Saturday, with both Equalizer and Catch The Thief unplaced as odds-on favourites in Victorian National Sprint Championship heats.
But he enjoyed a ‘perfect’ expedition to Warragul with Aston Fastnet completing a treble from his three starters, following the earlier wins of Aussie Secret and Rebellious, which both started at $1.10.
Aussie Secret took out the 400m FFA in 22.46sec, his sixth win from his last eight starts, while excitement machine brilliant Rebellious bounced back after being beaten in a St. Leger heat by Qwara Bale to score in a BON 25.58sec, boosting his imposing record to 11 from 14.
The first feature event of the night was the President’s Cup (680m), which went the way of Lakeview Lola, trained, owned and bred by Monique Whelan and family at Metung.
After taking 17 starts to win a maiden, Lakeview Lola ($2.90) continued her impressive recent form since stepping up in distance, leading all-the-way to defeat $1.50 favourite Sandra’s Sticker by 1 length in 39.35sec, her fourth win from her past seven starts.
The Simon Benson Memorial Grade 5 Final (460m) was taken out by Ultimate Avenger ($3.70), trained by Joe Borg, which also led throughout, from box one.
Ultimate Avenger held recent G1 Maturity Classic runner-up Fernando Mick ($2.10F) at bay to score by half a length in 25.62sec.
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