Miata, a five time Group 1 winner, was one of the best stayers of all time, winning 42 races from 51 starts with $715,508 in career earnings, while Barcia Bale won 13 from 14 and is the sire of the freakishly talented Victorian, Dyna Double One.
Billy Emgrand, trained by Luke Azzopardi, is the first pup out of Miata to hit the racetrack and will jump from box three in race three. Despite being drawn against some handy types in Zipping Bianca (box four) and King William (box eight), Azzopardi says his youngster has the talent to be competitive.
“You have got to start somewhere so I decided to put him in the series and I am confident that he will go well,” Azzopardi said.
“I don’t think he is fully wound up yet, he has got a lot of ability but he is still a bit immature and he is very green.
“It is a hard race but as long as he can stay out of trouble I think he will go alright.”
Billy Emgrand comes into the series with just one official performance trial, where he clocked a handy 26.63 at Bulli over the 472 metre trip back in July. Azzopardi says his red fawn chaser has improved in leaps and bounds since then.
“I was going to start him a while ago but every time I trialled him he just kept finding and improving and so I gave him some extra time to mature,” Azzopardi said.
“ I think he is a fairly strong dog although he does seem to have a fair bit of pace too. He is also a very competitive dog, he just seems to find that little bit extra when you put him with other dogs which is what you always like to see.”
Azzopardi is hopeful that his exciting prospect can advance through the series, with the $22,250-to-the-winner final to be run on August 27.
“If he could make it to the next round I would be thrilled because no matter what he does on Thursday night I think he will improve with race experience.
“I think he will develop into a very nice dog and I think he will make it all the way to top grade.”
A win in Thursday night’s race would also soften the blow dealt to Azzopardi, with Billy Emgrand’s litter sister, Rossy Emgrand, suffering a career ending injury before her first race start.
“I thought his sister might have been better than him but unfortunately she snapped her front leg in half about three weeks ago, but we have kept her to breed with.”
Other standout youngsters to look out for on Thursday night include Fantastic Dotty (race two – box one), Inshallah (race seven – box four) and Nobu (race 9 – number two).