ENZO Crudeli is still coming to terms with being a group 1 winning trainer after taking out Saturday night’s Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington with his classy sprinter Equanimity.
Having drawn beautifully in box one, Equanimity speared the lids in the $150,000-to-the-winner final, rolling straight to the early lead over Pepper Fire (box five) in the race around the first turn.
The leading pair maintained their positions throughout the entirety of the race, with Equanimity defeating Pepper Fire by one-and-three-quarter lengths in a fast 29.94.
Crudeli, who had three greyhounds engaged in the final, also nabbed third with Sassy Ginger (box seven); the race favourite, Astrozone (box four) finished fifth after missing the start for Paul Stuart.
Despite all of his greyhounds starting at double figure odds, Crudeli thought they all had a chance of featuring in the finish.
“I thought we had a rough chance – the final was an even race,” Crudeli told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“No one picked any of mine to win, even though they had the ability, so they were all good prices.
“Box one is a definite advantage especially when you are a quick beginner and [Equanimity] was also helped by my dog in box two [Kid Kansas] which moved off the track a little bit.
“Pepper Fire is a great dog, but when [Equanimity] gets in front he just seems to be able to keep kicking – he is a pretty talented dog.
“He is only 22-months-old so we were tossing up whether or not to put him in the series, but we decided to have a go because he has got good early pace.
“Three runs back he was racing in country grade fives, so it has been a massive step up in class and he has handled himself beautifully against the seasoned dogs.”
Equanimity, a son of Barcia Bale and She’s Historic, has now won six of his 10 starts with a further three minor placings.
Owned by Robbie Brankstone, the blue dog was supported by a massive cheer squad trackside which helped to make the night even more memorable for team Crudeli.
“The owners had a big crowd there which was a great – it made the win even better.
“They talk about grinning from ear to ear, but Robbie’s smile was that big it was touching the back of his head.
“I don’t get over excited, but it is definitely a good feeling to have won it.”
It has been a massive 12 months for Enzo Crudeli who also tasted success in 2016 when Shell Shocked won the Group 2 WA Derby.
Consistent success on the track has affirmed Crudeli’s decision to move to his current location at Nambeelup, near Mandurah, having previously lived more than 450km away from the action.
“We started out in Mullewa about 500km away from Perth and we bred pups there and had the dogs in our back yard which we used to train on a hot-rod track,” he said.
“It got to the stage where we had a few too many in the back yard and when my job finished up in Mullewa we decided to come down this way and from there it’s taken off.
“We have got boarding kennels here now and it got to the stage where we were going to go quiet with three or four greyhounds.
“Then a couple of my boys came to me and told me they wanted to get into the dogs again so we sat down and worked out a plan – we figured out breeding was the way to go but we knew we needed something decent.
“We started out with some of the Wheeler-bred Bale dogs which were older in age but were still capable of running – they kick started us.
“Now some of our youngsters are coming through so we have got a nice mix of Bale dogs and young dogs – it’s all going well.”
Crudeli gave special credit to his wife and children who are all involved in the industry, making the victory a family affair.
“We have always been a pretty close family – my wife Di and I have got five children who have all been involved in greyhounds.
“All the kids had a period where they went away and got a job, but the greyhounds are like a drug – they are hard to give up – so they have come back into the industry now and we are enjoying the racing together.
“We are getting some dogs and it is nice to have something which brings the family all together.”
As for what lies next for Equanimity, Crudeli said he is likely to target the upcoming Mandurah Sandgroper as well as some of the Puppy Classics in the near future, although he said he won’t rule out travelling cross country if his star chaser earns an invite to the Group 1 Temlee (525m) at The Meadows on February 18.
“You would have to have a go – why not?
“He has shown he has got the pace to lead the big races and he is pretty strong so if he gets an invite we’ll head over.”
The other group 1 on Saturday night, the Group 1 Galaxy (715m) was taken out by SA star Bogie Bekim (box eight) for young trainer Ben Rawlings, defeating Trip To Eden (box four) by just half a length in 42.22.