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Rupee favourite for Phoenix riches

Win, lose or draw in Saturday night’s inaugural $1.145m TAB Phoenix (525m) at The Meadows, superstar sprinter Aston Rupee – dubbed the world’s fastest greyhound – will create his own slice of greyhound racing history.

Trained by Glenn Rounds at Devon Meadows and occupying the slot purchased by his leviathan South Australian-based owner/breeder Ray Borda, Aston Rupee is certain to start favourite in the world’s only greyhound slot race.

“It’s a big build-up and it’s a thrill to be part of it,” said Rounds

“It’s something to look back on in years to come and whatever happens on Saturday it looks like we’re going to have the favourite in the first Phoenix.”

“It’s something to look back on in years to come and whatever happens on Saturday it looks like we’re going to have the favourite in the first Phoenix.”

After Rounds selected Box 5 for the $750,000 to-the-winner Phoenix – the inside four alleys had already been snapped up – Aston Rupee, the winner of 19 of his 33 starts and eight of his last 10, drifted slightly from $2.10 to $2.30 with TAB.

“When the first four boxes were filled, I was getting a little bit worried because I didn’t want to be posted out in the car park,” Rounds said.

“I’m tipping Ray (Borda) was pacing around the room!

“But five is okay and I like him going in with the first line.

WATCH: Favourite Aston Rupee tuned up for Saturday night’s TAB Phoenix in sensational fashion when breaking Shepparton’s 450m track record in a solo trial on Monday, clocking 24.69sec.

“Going in first seems to give him time to get settled and he’s a bit cleaner. If it gives us an inch I’ll take it!”

At his most recent appearance at The Meadows, Aston Rupee brilliantly won the G1 Topgun invitational on November 6, but at his last start he was beaten favourite in the G1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park, running fourth to Phoenix arch rival Koblenz, the $3.40 second elect.

“He didn’t miss the start, but his right leg slipped and forced him to crash into ‘the five’, Lala Kiwi, which ended up running second, so her run was super and so was his,” Rounds said.

“We were proud of him. He doesn’t know how to run a bad race.”

Aston Rupee heads into the Phoenix with $420,750 in prizemoney and victory will see the superbly-bred son of US sire KC And All and 2017 Melbourne Cup finalist Aston Miley enter the exclusive but ever-expanding ‘Millionaire Club’.

“The money is ridiculous but let’s win it first!” said Rounds.

“You can’t compare dogs with the way prizemoney is these days. Classic Capri (2001 Melbourne Cup winner and 2000 Melbourne Cup runner-up, raced by Rounds and late partner Judy Hayley) won $300,000.

“What would Brett Lee and Rapid Journey have won if they were racing now?

“Tangaloa (1978 Melbourne Cup and 1980 Australian Cup winner) won $100,000 and is no lesser dog than any of them.”

THE TAB PHOENIX (525m)
Saturday, December 18, Race 8, 8.30PM
1 BILLY CREEK (Ian Gilders, Beryl NSW)
2 JUNGLE DEUCE (Ray Smith, Forbes NSW)
3 SPOTTED ELK (Graham Hall, Marburg QLD)
4 WOW SHE’S FAST (Jacqueline Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
5 ASTON RUPEE (Glenn Rounds, Devon Meadows VIC)
6 VICE GRIP (Adam Smithson, Nambeelup WA)
7 TRUE COLLINDA (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
8 KOBLENZ (David Geall, Lara VIC)
Reserve
9 LALA KIWI (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
10 LAKEVIEW WALTER (Monique Whelan, Metung VIC) SCRATCHED

Favourite Aston Rupee has been the ‘centre of attention’ in the countdown to the inaugural TAB Phoenix

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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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