• Friday, 14 Jan, 2022,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Rupee’s ‘Thunder’ storm warning

A scintillating Wentworth Park trial has Victorian superstar Aston Rupee primed for his NSW debut in Saturday night’s ‘sudden death’ heats of the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder at Wentworth Park.

Trainer Glenn Rounds took Aston Rupee to Sydney for a preparatory trial last Wednesday (January 5) and the ‘world’s fastest greyhound’ lived up to his reputation, covering the 520m in a blistering 29.40sec.

“He trialled beautifully,” said Rounds.

“What he trialled was super. You couldn’t ask for any more. He finished it off strongly – his last section was fantastic.

“It all comes down to race night now and nailing the start but the dog is ready to go and I’m very, very confident he’ll do his thing on Saturday night.”

“The more runs you have in Sydney the better you’ll be and it could be a big year for him up at Wentworth Park with the Golden Easter Egg and two Million Dollars Chases, so it was very encouraging to see him trial so well.

“It all comes down to race night now and nailing the start but the dog is ready to go and I’m very, very confident he’ll do his thing on Saturday night.”

An airborne last start 28.95sec winner at Sandown Park on January 30 – incredibly his third sub-29sec victory at the track, including his 28.79sec track record – Aston Rupee stifles TAB betting on the last of eight Paws Of Thunder heats (Race 10 at 9.12pm).

Drawn in Box 3, the son of KC And All and Aston Miley is a prohibitive $1.35.

“It’s a bit skinny,” quipped Rounds.

WATCH: Aston Rupee (1) heads to Sydney for Saturday night’s G1 Paws Of Thunder heats after a scorching 28.95sec last start victory at Sandown Park on December 30.

Aston Rupee, which has won 20 of his 35 starts, is also $4 favourite in the ‘All In’ Paws Of Thunder market.

Having won the race with Shima Bar in 2017, Andrea Dailly has six heat runners, with last start G1 Silver Chief winner Zippy Tesla (Heat 4, Box 4) and Melbourne Cup runner-up Lala Kiwi (Heat 5, Box 2) looming as her best chances.

Dailly’s other contenders are the out-of-form dual G1 winner Qwara Bale (Heat 2, Box 8), Daph’s Ascend (Heat 3, Box 2), Indy Matilda (Heat 6, Box 1) and Fabriola Ximenez (Heat 8, Box 4).

Anthony Azzopardi is a three-time Paws Of Thunder winner, courtesy of Fancy Will (2011), Asa Flying Spur (2016) and Raw Ability (2018), and the former NSW trainer is eyeing a fourth title with the in-form Aston Titan (Heat 5, Box 8), winner of its past five.

Jessica Sharp returns to Sydney with last start Sandown winners Junk Food Junkie (Heat 1, Box 6) and Devel Sixteen (Heat 4, Box 3), with the litter sisters having made their presence felt at Wentworth Park in previous campaigns.

Junk Food Junkie was a finalist in the 2020 G1 Peter Mosman Opal and 2021 G3 Ladies Bracelet, while Devel Sixteen ran fourth to Tommy Shelby in last year’s G1 Golden Easter Egg final.

Jeff Britton’s Adelaide Cup winner and Hobart Thousand runner-up Do It (Heat 3, Box 3) is taking aim at another interstate G1 crown.

The other Victorian-trained contenders are Kelly Bravo’s Paddy Wants Pats (Heat 1, Box 5), whose mother Striker Light was a Paws Of Thunder finalist in 2017, and Hebridean Black (Heat 2, Box 7), prepared by Lisa Cockerell.

Saturday’s Wentworth Park card will also feature two heats of the G2 Summer Distance Plate (720m) for the stayers.

Jeff Britton has runners in both heats, with Mepunga Ruby (Box 7) $1.75 favourite in the second run-off and Hank The Hustler (Box 2) at $6 in the opening heat, while Dustin Drew’s Untapped (Box 6) and Josh Formosa’s Mr. Speaker (Box 4) are $4 and $21 respectively in the second qualifier.

Aston Rupee running a track record 28.79sec at Sandown Park on September 9.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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