Awesome Avenger pictured with co-trainer Joe Borg 📷 Jason Mckeown

  • Wednesday, 20 Sep, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Borg’s ‘Awesome’ St Leger Avenger

You’re never too old to dream and at 83 years of age, George Borg is hoping to celebrate his first Group victory in Friday night’s $42,875 G3 Warragul St Leger (460m).

Maryborough-based George, father of Group 1-winning trainer Joe, has the fastest qualifier for the $28,000 to-the-winner St Leger (race 8, 9.27pm) in Awesome Avenger.

Awesome Avenger (box 6), a brilliant 25.52sec heat winner, is Sportsbet’s $5 second elect behind $2.05 favourite Alpha Zulu (box 1).

“Dad has always been in the background, but he’s actually training the dogs now,” Joe explained.

“The roles have been reversed and I’m helping him now, but nothing changes.

“I really rate the dog; he’s just starting to hit his straps.”

“Dad’s having a ball having the dogs in his name. I love the old man. He’s 83 years of age and we don’t know how long he’s got to go in life, so why not?

“If the dog happens to win on Friday, it will be Dad’s first Group winner.”

Awesome Avenger, a May ’21 son of Hooked On Scotch and Lady Avenger, is a half-brother to Joe’s 2021 St Leger finalist Black Avenger.

After starting his career in February in the G3 Vic Bred Maiden during the Australian Cup Carnival, Awesome Avenger was sidelined until July with an Achilles tendon injury.

He’s been making up for lost time since resuming, winning four of his six starts to take his overall record to five from nine.

WATCH: “It wasn’t just a win; it was a statement!” AWESOME AVENGER (B5) is the fastest qualifier for the G3 Warragul St Leger after a flying BON 25.52sec heat victory.

“I really rate the dog; he’s just starting to hit his straps,” said Joe.

“He had a minor Achilles tear. We got it early, so it was just a little nick, but he needed 14/16 weeks off.

“He’s come back a better dog, so hopefully the patience will pay off.

“He’s a big, leggy dog, so his body just needed to settle down.

“Before the St Leger he ran 24.94sec at Ballarat and then went 25.12sec the next week when the track had been deeply harrowed.

“He just met the guidelines for the St Leger, being an age-restricted race. He scraped in by a couple of weeks.”

Awesome Avenger ($5.60) made a sensational Warragul debut in the second of two St Leger heats.

Drawn in box five, he was a flying all-the-way winner, defeating favourite Professor Snitch ($2.60) by 1.5 lengths to record his third straight success.

The first heat went to Jason Thompson’s odds-on favourite Alpha Zulu in 25.81sec, taking his imposing record to 11 from 15.

“I wouldn’t say he surprised me with what he did in his heat. He’s just really learning his craft,” Borg offered.

“The final is a tough race. Whoever’s going to win has got to do everything right. I’ve been in a lot of Group races and they’re very hard to win.

“Dad is a little bit toey this week. But I just treat it as another race – until you win it! We’ve got a job to do, and we’ll see what the outcome is.”

Awesome Avenger pictured winning at The Meadows in March 📷 Jason Mckeown

Awesome Avenger’s litter sister and kennelmate Mrs. Avenger was a scorching 26.90sec BOD winner at Horsham on Tuesday, while the Borgs also have a brother that’s as talented as Awesome Avenger but unfortunately may not get to the track.

“His name is Avenger Lad,” Joe said.

“He’s as good as Awesome Avenger but injured a stopper bone and might never race. I’m going to leave him until November and give him another go.”

The Borgs will be chasing a feature double at Warragul, with Bella Beauty (box 8) to line up in the $10,500 Simon Benson Memorial (race 6, 8.42pm).

Bella Beauty, a daughter of Fernando Bale and Bonnie Beauty, was also an emphatic all-the-way heat winner, downing $1.50 favourite Eskimo Roger by 6.5 lengths in 25.80sec, the rising four-year-old’s 12th win from 30 starts.

“Bella Beauty ran a ripper race; she went awesome,” Joe said.

“Last Friday was a great night. Now we’ve got to try and repeat it!”


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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