Victorian mentor Anthony Azzopardi is no stranger to group racing success, however it was inevitably a big task for his charge Substantial from box seven in last night’s $47,000 to-the-winner star-studded Shepparton Cup over the 450m.
Starting as one of the rank outsiders and after beginning mid-field, the son of Barcia Bale and On The Runway placed himself in third position behind early leader Idolize (5) and pre-race favourite, Mr Audacious (6).
Upon the two leaders bumping in their duel in vying for the lead, the 32kg chaser took the lead at the top of turn, scoring by 3.41 lengths in a speedy 24.77, defeating a gallant Robbie Rotten (8) and Dream Wizard (1).
Dream Wizard, who was the subject of a steward’s embargo after the Shepparton Cup heats; made up considerable ground after being held up in the early stages.
Having just his sixth career race start boom youngster and race favourite with online bookmakers,Mr Audacious was a victim of his own race inexperience. The young dog attempted to take a rails run right at the entry to the first corner severely checking himself in to the running rail. The effort to pick himself up and finish fifth after the interference with his muzzle hanging around his neck was full of merit.
Understandably, Azzopardi was all smiles post-race and gave a big thumbs up to the camera as he made his way to the presentation dias, continuing an incredibly successful owner-trainer partnership with Darren and Michael Puleio who also bred this chaser.
Substantial’s dam, On The Runway; currently has a three-month old litter on the ground to boom sire Bernardo.
It was the blue blazer’s 11th career victory from 29 starts, with last night’s winner’s purse taking his prize money total to $98,230.