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‘Rotten’ Cup defeat haunts Cottrell

Teenage training sensation Kayla Cottrell admits she still has nightmares about last year’s Group 1 TAB Australian Cup final.

Cottrell, who will turn 20 in April, created history on the opening night of the 2021 Australian Cup Carnival, becoming Victoria’s youngest ever G1-winning trainer, when Fernando Cazz won the Rookie Rebel invitational (600m).

The Pearcedale prodigy was then denied Australian Cup glory by the barest of margins when Fernando Bluey led everywhere bar the post when edged out by Western Australian star Tommy Shelby.

Cottrell will set out to bury that agonising defeat when her last start G2 Warragul Cup hero Robbie Rotten returns to action in Saturday night’s Australian Cup heats at The Meadows.

WATCH: Former NSW speedster ROBBIE ROTTEN (5) continued his spectacular form since relocating to Victoria with a brilliant all-the-way win in the G2 Warragul Cup final (460m) on January 14.

“Last year still haunts me,” Cottrell conceded

“It was so close. It was a great run by ‘Bluey’. I thought he was gone at the 600m boxes, but he dug deep. The best thing Tommy Shelby did was missing the start!

“Robbie Rotten is the same sort of dog as ‘Bluey’. They’ve both got that high speed.”

Robbie Rotten has been almost faultless since relocating to Victoria, running second at Ballarat at his first start for Cottrell and winning his next four, the most recent his dynamic all-the-way Warragul Cup triumph on January 14.

“Robbie Rotten broke five seconds at Sandown and early speed is what you need to win these big races.”

Winner of 14 from 29, the October ’18 son of 2014 Australian Cup runner-up Keybow hasn’t raced since and will resume in the second of Saturday’s eight Cup heats, where he’s a $4.40 chance with TAB from Box 3.

It will be Robbie Rotten’s second ‘500’ since arriving in Victoria, having won in 29.50sec at Sandown Park on December 23.

His only win in five ‘500m’ assignments in NSW came at Gosford (29.27sec), but the distance is no concern to Cottrell.

“He went super at Warragul – it was a big thrill – but he pulled up a bit sore in a toe,” said Cottrell.

“We’ve been managing him and he’s been trialling nicely.

“He’s got that early speed. He broke five seconds (4.98sec) when he won at Sandown and early speed is what you need to win these big races.

“He’s not really a young dog either – he’s over three now – so you’ve got to take these opportunities.

“He gets the ‘500’. He ran two hot first sectionals at Sandown and it was a gutsy win.

“He hasn’t missed a beat since he’s been in Victoria. He’s just thrived and has been coming out super.

“There’s a bit of pace in his heat but I’m just focused on him. Hopefully he comes out and does what we know he can do and puts himself in a good position.”

TOMMY SHELBY (4) and FERNANDO BLUEY (6) fought out a thrilling finish to the 2021 Australian Cup.

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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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