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Titan’s Casino gamble pays off

After a victorious hit-and-run raid on the Group 3 Casino Cup, leading trainer Anthony Azzopardi is confident Aston Titan can make a winning return to Victoria at The Meadows on Saturday night.

After celebrating his birthday on Thursday, Azzopardi is hoping the party will continue, boasting three excellent chances in Aston Titan (Race 5), comeback speedster McCooly’s Lad (Race 10) and Street Riot (Race 11), all favourites in their respective events at The Meadows.

It was a case of third time lucky in a Group event for Aston Titan in last Thursday’s Casino Cup (484m), with the superbly-bred son of Fernando Bale and Fantastic Dotty having run sixth in both in the G2 Healesville Cup and G3 Bob Payne.

WATCH: Victorian star Aston Titan (8) claimed a thrilling last-stride victory in the G3 Casino Cup final (484m) last Thursday (November 25)

“I thought he would be suited at Casino and it’s great when a plan works out like that,” Azzopardi said.

“I sent him to ‘Cookie’ (trainer Bob Cooke) two weeks earlier so he could trial twice before the Cup heats. I went up for the final – it was a great night!

“He’s been around the mark in some good races and I really thought it looked a nice little race for him. He deserved it, that’s for sure.”

The winner of 20 from 48, Aston Titan hasn’t gone past 500m since June 19; but Azzopardi isn’t concerned and TAB agrees, pricing him as $2.80 favourite for Saturday’s assignment, ahead of Nikoli Bale (Box 1) and Jax Bale (Box 8), both at $3.50.

“He hasn’t run over ‘500’ for a while but he hasn’t had to because he’s been going so good. He’ll run 500m on his ear.”


ANTHONY AZZOPARDI
ON ASTON TITAN

Anthony Azzopardi

“I think he’ll lead for a long way,” Azzopardi said.

“He hasn’t run over ‘500’ for a while but he hasn’t had to because he’s been going so good. He’ll run 500m on his ear.”

“His form dropped off a little bit in the middle of the year, so I gave him a break and when I brought him back he won all those races in a row (seven out of his next nine starts).”

Here’s what Azzopardi had to say about his other three runners at The Meadows:

MCCOOLY’S LAD

Race 10 (9.42pm) Box 3 – TAB Odds $2.50F

“He’s going really well. I thought his last run at The Meadows was really good, even though he was a $1.10 ‘pop’. He’s had that one really fast 29.11sec win at Sandown since he came back but hopefully we’ll see his best on Saturday. I like him from Box 3 and I think he’ll be hard to beat.”    Form Guide

SUBTLE ART

Race 10 (9.42pm) Box 8 – TAB Odds $3.80

“He’s a brother to Ben Mayo and I’m told he’s the best in the litter but I’m not sure about that. He’s a bit slow early but he’s only had two starts for me and should’ve won both. He was going to the front in his first run but was dragged down and then he won last start. I don’t think he’ll be beating McCooly’s Lad though.”   Form Guide

STREET RIOT

Race 11 (10.02pm) Box 2 – TAB Odds $2.40F

“I think he’ll lead and no disrespect to his opposition but he probably won’t get a better opportunity to win a city race.”   Form Guide

McCooly’s Lad scoring at The Meadows on 24 November in 30.16sec.

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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