• Thursday, 03 Feb, 2022,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Azzopardi’s Presidents Cup endorsement

Anthony Azzopardi has given “pure professional” Aston Titan the nod as the clear pick of his three finalists in Saturday night’s Presidents Cup final (485m) at Horsham.

Aston Titan continued his sensational recent form in Tuesday’s heats of the $15,000 to-the-winner Presidents Cup, bouncing back from a luckless trip to Sydney for the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder to claim his sixth win from his last seven starts and ninth from his past 13.

Winner of the G3 Casino Cup in November, Aston Titan started $1.30 favourite from Box 4 in the first of three heats and the superbly-bred son of Fernando Bale and Fantastic Dotty led throughout in a Best Of Day 27.12sec.

“He’s taken the next step. He’s a pure professional now,” said Azzopardi.

“He’s doing everything right. He’s pinging the lids, he’s chasing hard – the dog is flying.

“He was the winner of his Paws Of Thunder heat but he went to go between them and got blocked and then they blocked him again. I’m not saying he would’ve won the final but he would’ve been in it.

“He went the quickest in the heats on Tuesday, showed good speed and ran the best sections. I can’t fault him.”

Aston Titan (Box 6) will be joined in Saturday’s final by kennelmates Subtle Art and G1 National Futurity finalist Caroline, littermates which both finished third in the other two heats, won by Aston Ulysses (27.18sec) and Money Owes (27.61sec) respectively.

WATCH: Aston Titan (4) set the pace in Tuesday afternoon’s Presidents Cup heats at Horsham with an all-the-way 27.12sec victory.

Subtle Art has drawn Box 1, while first reserve Caroline will be elevated into the field after Money Owes received a five-day stand down and is required to perform a satisfactory trial.

“Only bad luck beat Caroline in her heat,” Azzopardi said.

“We got $9 about her coming off a Group 1 race and it was looking good!

“I trialled her at Horsham before the heats and she went really well and if she comes into ‘the pink’ that will be a perfect draw for her.

Horsham, Saturday, Race 8 – First prize $15,000
1 SUBTLE ART (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley)
2 SODA TITAN (Max Auld, Tatura)
3 MY NAME’S STACEY (Rod Clark, Echuca Village)
4 ASTON ULYSSES (Paul Abela, Parwan)
5 ASTON ZIEBELL (Paul Abela, Parwan)
6 ASTON TITAN (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley)
7 TYNSLEE BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie)
8 MONEY OWES (Greg Berry, Toolleen)
9 CAROLINE (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley)
10 ACES ARE TRUMPS (Rebecca Gibbons, Avalon)

“Subtle Art is a nice little dog but he’s as thick as concrete! He’s still learning what it’s all about.

“I wasn’t able to trial him at Horsham because he was in the Derby final at Warrnambool last week, so he’d never seen the track.

“He could be the knockout dog – could be.

“Box 6 isn’t a problem for Aston Titan and he’s my best chance for sure.”

“If McCooly’s Lad makes the Rookie Rebel field and draws one, two or three he can win the race!”

Meanwhile, Azzopardi is confident McCooly’s Lad can continue his miraculous comeback from injury if he’s selected in the final field for the G1 TAB Rookie Rebel (600m) to be held at The Meadows next Saturday, February 12.

After spending nine months on the sidelines with a career-threatening hock injury, McCooly’s Lad, last start runner-up to NSW star Jungle Deuce in the G2 Golden Sands in Brisbane, was named in the Top 12 for the Rookie Rebel earlier this week.

“He’s a special boy,” said Azzopardi.

“Getting him back to win a Grade 5 at Horsham was enough for me but how good would it be if he made a Group 1 invitational?

“He’s not a dog I can race every week – I really have to look after him – and I’ve set him specifically for this race.

“His run in Brisbane to take ground off Jungle Deuce was phenomenal and if he makes the Rookie Rebel field and draws one, two or three he can win the race!”

McCooly’s Lad can continue his remarkable comeback with selection in the G1 Rookie Rebel field.

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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