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Gippsland flyer unleashes in the Warragul St. Leger

Spectators at Warragul’s Logan Park were treated to a greyhound racing masterclass on Friday night from exciting Gippsland youngster, Mr Audacious, in the $37,250 Group 3 Warragul St. Leger final.

In the 40th running of the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club’s age-restricted event, punters found it tough to judge between Plaintiff ($3.50), Mr Audacious ($3.70) and the previous week’s fastest heat winner, Deadly Class ($3.80).

With a fog slowly setting in before the night’s premier race, Mr Audacious burst out of the boxes and unleashed beast mode down the Princes Highway side, quickly establishing a handy lead into the turn. His main rivals for the age-restricted event matched motors and found the going tougher behind the leader, battling it out mid-field in the early stages. Taking advantage of his clean break, Mr Audacious extended his margin into the home straight and put paid to the chances of his nearest challengers.

Local race caller, Kyle Galley, lifted the excitement levels as the ‘Gippsland flyer’ made no friends with Salad Dodger and Kelsey Bale who he showed a clean set of paws to throughout to win by 2.25 lengths. Stopping the clock at 25.53sec for the 460m trip on a rain affected track, Mr Audacious’ victory was only half a length shy of Catch The Thief’s 2020 race record.

Speaking of their maiden Group win, Rachael and Mark Busuttil were still beaming when we spoke to Team Busuttil on Sunday after an evening of drinks and pizza over a race replay with Mr Audacious’ owners, Di and Kevin Wainwright.

“He just needed a clear run early and they would have to run him down”, said Mark. “We were not confident when the box draw came out given we were facing a very good field like Azzopardi’s two” (Deadly Class and Salad Dodger). “He is normally a tardy beginner but he began the best he has in ages. We would have been in a world of pain if he didn’t,” explained Mark.

Friday night’s host for Sky Channel, Jason Lincoln, remarked that Mr Audacious is “the best one-turn track dog in Australia”.

Speaking on plans for the coming months, Team Busuttil stated that, “We’ll see what he is capable of and step him up to see how he handles two turns”, referring to the 500m journeys at Melbourne’s Sandown Park and The Meadows metropolitan tracks. “If he handles this, then the Melbourne Cup is one race in mind.”

Asked what this first Group win meant to the Busuttil household, Rachael and Mark simply replied, “It means the world”.

Trained at Kilmany, the April 2020 son of Beast Unleashed and Audacious Bell now has 12 wins from just 15 outings and more than $70,000 in prize money.

This victory was a remarkable relief for all connections following two luckless prior Group race final attempts which saw Mr Audacious scratched from the Group 2 Ballarat Cup due to injury and also a luckless fifth when race favourite in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup after breaking Ferdinand Boy’s Shepparton track record in the heats.

First conducted in 1983, the time-honoured race has launched the careers of top-line chasers such as Black Anvil, Excite Ability, David Bale, Jimmy Newob and the million dollar chaser, Fanta Bale.

PICTURED ABOVE: Mr Audacious with Di Wainwright; Mark Busuttil; Rachael Bussutil (holding Mr Audacious); Kevin Wainwright (holding the Warragul St. Leger trophy).

*This article was written by Brett Osler.

WATCH: Mr. Audacious shows his class in the Warragul St. Leger, claiming the $25,000 first prize.

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