Master Londonderry trainer Anthony Azzopardi will be hoping for another repeat performance from his chasers tonight at Wentworth Park, with live chances in each of the three Group One Vic Peters Classic semi-finals.
Azzopardi’s freakish greyhound Shoulders has come up with box one in semi-final one and was back to his best last week, clocking a speedy time of 29.77. Jumping beautifully from box four, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Bit Stressed sat behind the early leader and cruised past Jewel Action halfway down the straight. Shoulders has a sizzling personal best of 29.36 over the 520m journey and holds a special place in his trainers heart.
“From where this dog has come from and what he can do in a race is a credit to Brett and Deb. I would love to win this race with him for them, he’s that special,” said Azzopardi.
“I’m over the moon with box one, but last time he had this box in a big final he bombed the start and that was it. It’s hard when there in the first line of dogs to go in the boxes, but hopefully he can settle down and get a good run to the first turn, because he can clock fast time.”
Anything Less will be looking to upset Shoulders in heat one after a stunning 29.75 come from behind performance last week. Speedy beginner Lady Ronray led the field as expected into the back straight, with John Finn’s chaser too strong at the finish. The son of Bekim Bale and Casey’s Angel has an impeccable career record of eight wins from just eleven starts and will exit from the middle draw again tonight.
Kennelmates Zipping Tank and Cosmic Angel will both step out in semi-final two from box three and eight respectively, with Azzopardi rating their chances very highly, provided they get some luck in running.
“Zipping Tank has to rely on some luck early on, but he’s very strong at the finish. Last week was a great run and if he gets some room to move he will be charging home.”
Cosmic Angel is another talented offspring by Cosmic Rumble out of Bit Stressed and was brilliant last week, leading all the way from box one in a flying time of 29.62. Despite going from one side of the box draw to the other, Azzopardi has found the secret formula to his success and will be hoping it continues tonight.
“I brought him (Cosmic Angel) into this series fresh off a spell. He was always better than Shoulders, but just didn’t rise to the top like his brother did. Something just seems to have sparked with him now and he’s worked it all out.”
Zipping Weston will line up in the last semi-final from box six and despite finishing second last week, produced an enormous effort after suffering heavy interference at the first turn. The son of Smooth Fancy and Navigator Miss faces a tough task with speedy on either side of him, however this greyhound comes from the sensational ‘Hallinan’ bloodlines, renowned for their run home speed and strength.
In-form chaser Are Jip will also step out in the last heat from box eight for talented owner-trainer Kristy Sultana. The son of Fabregas and Monique’s Doll will be looking for his fourth consecutive win and third straight victory at Wentworth Park. Are Jip has been brilliant at his past two outings, clocking 29.63 and 29.61 and decimating his rivals by large margins. The wide draw shouldn’t prove an issue for this consistent lid pinger, whose one of the most exciting greyhounds in the state at present.
Lucy Lobster will jump from box two and was also successful in her heat last week in 29.92. The daughter of Brett Lee and One Tree Hill saluted by ten and a half lengths and has blistering early pace that will give trainer Charlie Lamb plenty of hope of securing a final’s berth.
Semi-final one will be run and won at 8.28pm EDST. All winners and runner ups will move through to next week’s $75,000 final along with the two fastest third placegetters.