Victorian superstar Aston Rupee, Australia’s fastest greyhound, is $2 favourite to celebrate his first Group 1 victory in Friday night’s TAB Adelaide Cup final (530m) at Angle Park.
Aston Rupee, trained by Glenn Rounds at Devon Meadows and owned and bred by South Australian Ray Borda, has been unstoppable in winning his last four starts, boasting an imposing 15 from 27 career record.
Prior to venturing to Adelaide, Aston Rupee won the G3 Speed Star 525m match race series at The Meadows in 29.59sec, before sensationally smashing Sandown Park’s 515m record, clocking an almost incomprehensible 28.79sec.
The well-bred son of KC And All and Aston Miley, a litter sister to 2017 Melbourne Cup hero Aston Dee Bee and a Melbourne Cup finalist herself, then booked a direct passage into Friday’s Cup final by winning the Match Race Challenge at Angle Park at his interstate debut, running 29.95sec (pictured above courtesy Kurt Donsberg).
His time was the first – and so far only – sub-30sec performance at the recently revamped track.
“Very happy with his run,” said Glenn Rounds.
“He got around the track really well. He had a good feel around for his first time there and still ran very fast time. He didn’t hold back at all.
“Going straight into the final was a bonus.
“He’d had some very solid racing in Melbourne week-to-week over the last six weeks or so, so a light week will hold him in good stead.
“He did some free galloping last week and I didn’t feel he needed a ‘500’, so I gave him a 400m trial at Warragul after the meeting on Monday night.
“He ran 22.18sec and there’d been a lot of storms around so he went nice and I was very happy to tick that box off and get him home, to be honest.”
Aston Rupee is a two-time G3 Speed Star winner, at both Sandown and The Meadows, but the $100,000 to-the-winner Adelaide Cup is his first test at G1 level and he’ll need to overcome Box 8, which locals have warned represents a significant hurdle.
“They’re telling me this and that about Box 8 at Angle Park but they’ve only been racing on the track for five or six weeks,” said Rounds.
“Box 8 is Box 8. We’d all rather have ‘the red’ but he should get good, clear air to the corner, which will let him accelerate.
WATCH: Aston Rupee (3) sensationally smashed Sandown Park’s 515m track record when clocking a gobsmacking 28.79sec on Thursday, September 9.
“He needs to come out forward. He won’t want to miss it a half. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, you’re not going to win a Group 1 if you miss the start.
“I’d rather have Box 8 than 4, 5, or 6, where you might begin okay but then other dogs come into play.
“I’m confident the dog will do very well. He hasn’t let me down yet and everything he’s done so far has been superb.
“It would be very nice to knock one (Group 1 race) over and get one under his belt before all the big races coming up in Melbourne. They don’t come easy but I can honestly say I haven’t had a dog of his calibre before.”
Aston Rupee is one of four Victorians lining up in the Cup, with Angela Langton’s duo Weblec Blazer and Keep It Black and Do It, trained by Langton’s partner Jeff Britton, qualifying via last Thursday’s heats.
Weblec Blazer ran down ‘kennelmate’ Mr. Fix It in 30.25sec, Do It took advantage of Box 1 in a 30.36sec success, while Keep It Black was only beaten three-quarters of a length by fastest qualifier Spring Lilac in 30.22sec.
After drawing Box 4, Weblec Blazer is TAB’s $5.50 second elect, with Do It (Box 2) on the third line of betting at $7 and Keep It Black (Box 3) at $8.50.
“They’re all boxed pretty well but I’m just focusing on making sure my bloke is ready,” said Rounds.
Due to ongoing COVID border restrictions, Aston Rupee will be couriered to Adelaide on race day, as was the case for the Match Race Challenge, with Rounds finding himself in the unusual position of chasing G1 glory from home.
“The last five minutes I won’t be taking him to the boxes so I’ll probably be very nervous,” Rounds said.
“I reckon I might need a drink and it probably won’t be the first one!” he added with a laugh.
The Adelaide Cup is race 8 on Friday night at 9.28pm.
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