• Tuesday, 03 May, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

Astro Boy ‘flies high’

Astro Boy – like his powerful android namesake – will need to be a ‘superhero’ to win the $70,335 Group 2 Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Cup (450m) on Wednesday night.

And there’ll be real ‘human emotions’ if he emulates his science fiction epithet.

His Avalon trainer, Jessica Sharp, is hoping her ‘Mighty Atom’ can ‘rocket high’ to a $47,000 first prize.

‘Everything is go’ for Astro Boy (Jan ’19 Banjo Boy x Paua To Avoid), which has been the surprise packet of the series.

He won his heat, paying $16.90, in a frontrunning 25.18sec last week – around 4.5 lengths quicker than his previous best of 25.45sec.

It was his 12th win (with eight seconds and 11 thirds) from 62 starts. He’s now three from six over 450m at Warrnambool.

Astro Boy has drawn box two in the final and is quoted at $9.50 on TAB’s fixed odds market. ‘Country cups king’ Ferdinand Boy (Box 1) is the $2.60 favourite, followed by fastest qualifier Mepunga Mustang (Box 8) at $3.90.

Sharp says she wasn’t totally shocked when Astro Boy won his heat from box eight.

“As soon as we saw the draw, it looked a match in two between Ferdinand Boy and Mepunga Mustang.”

“He ‘grows a leg’ from the outside… He just doesn’t ‘power’ from the inside,” she said.

“As soon as we saw the draw, it looked a match in two between Ferdinand Boy and Mepunga Mustang.”

And that’s why Sharp feels Astro Boy faces a daunting assignment in the final.

“He’s drawn inside-out… But we thought we’d put him into the series as he’s put in some good runs recently. (His heat win broke a string of three successive second placings.)

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“He’s got ability and he’s probably going a bit better than when he contested a Traralgon Cup heat (4th) and a Ballarat Cup heat (6th).

“But in these types of races you need everything to go your way.

“I think he’s a place chance, but I would have thought he’d be double his quote.”

Sharp wasn’t all that far off having three finalists as Aston Merit finished third (beaten 2.2L) to Ferdinand Boy and Hadouken was also third (beaten 2.7L) to Fernando Mick.

“I thought those two were our best chances going into the heats,” Sharp said.

Astro Boy is a son of prolific producer Paua To Avoid and his maternal great grand-dam is iconic ‘Hall of Famer’, Paua To Burn.

“Her first litter (Apr ’18 Fernando Bale) were sensational for us,” Sharp said.

“She threw Devel Sixteen (G1 Golden Easter Egg finalist), Junk Food Junkie (dual G1 finalist) and Fast Food Junkie (19 wins; now racing in WA) – which we trained – and Run Like Jess (three-time G1 finalist; now racing in SA).”

Handler Dylan Sharp with the ‘mighty atom’, Astro Boy, after his heat win.

Paua To Avoid’s second litter has also thrown Astro Boy’s littermates Rhonda Lily (15 from 64) and Notoriety (9 from 45).

And there’s a third litter (Mar ’20 Fernando Bale) comprising one male and nine females.

Pawnote: Warrnambool Cup night – fourth and final leg of the ‘Western Festival of Racing’ – is a greyhound racing extravaganza containing the following support features: Cup Night Match Race (450m) – Hennessey vs Substantial – $10,000 winner-take-all; Stan Lake Memorial (450m) – Winner: $5000; GDR Restricted Win (650m) (0-4 Wins) – Winner: $3900; WGRC Members Cup S/E (390m) – Winner: $3000.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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