MELBOURNE Cup finalist Aston Miley (Barcia Bale x Aston Elle Apr ’15) will be chasing another shot at group glory when she heads west of Melbourne to tackle a heat of the Group 2 Ballarat Cup on Saturday night.
Prepared by Eddie Lieshout, Aston Miley was far from disgraced in the $600,000 Melbourne Cup (won by her brother Aston Dee Bee) last Friday night at Sandown Park, finishing seventh off box seven after finding early interference.
“She was unlucky. From box seven she just couldn’t get across on the first corner and when she did she got into a lot of trouble,” Lieshout told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I was so proud of her just making the final. She was the baby of the field and it was one of the best finals you will see.
“Just to be in the Cup was a great experience for her and for me – now we’ve just got to hope she can have a bit more luck at Ballarat.”
Aston Miley, which has won seven of her 15 starts, will make her debut at Ballarat on the weekend, jumping in the sixth heat wearing the blue stretch vest.
It won’t be an easy mission, coming up against Melbourne Cup placegetter Kouta Mayhem (Fabregas x Belle’s Melody Mar ’15) and Group 2 Warrnambool Cup winner Leo’s Gift (Spring Gun x Ruby Jet Sep ’14).
Although she will be having her first look at Ballarat in her heat, Lieshout expects Aston Miley to perform well.
“She is good enough ability wise, she just needs a bit of luck during the race,” he said.
“It’s a tough race and while I’d love the red box I’m not too concerned about the draw or the fact she has never been there.
“She is going in without a look, but she did the same thing at Geelong and she won her heat of the Cup and ran third in the final.
“There is a lot of pace in the race, but she is just as good as them and I think she can hold them out.
“It’s just a matter of getting a bit of luck – if she gets the right breaks I think she can do it.”
Lieshout, who has been training greyhounds for three decades, believes Aston Miley is good enough to win at group level despite her inexperience compared to some of her more seasoned rivals.
“She is a beautiful girl, she is lovely natured and she does everything right,” he said.
“She is one of the best bitches I have ever had so it would be nice if she could win a Cup or a nice race somewhere before she retires.
“I’m not getting too excited – but I’ll be hoping and praying she can run well this week.”
A win in next week’s final would also be a career highlight for Lieshout who has trained plenty of handy dogs over the years, but hasn’t been able to break through for one of the major trophies.
“I’ve won plenty of races but never a group race – that’s one thing I would like to win,” he said.
“I’m only a hobby trainer but I have had some nice dogs over the years such as Aston Harvey and Aston Sloan who I had a lot of fun with.
“I have been there, done that – mainly rearing and breeding pups – but I have stopped that and now I am just playing around with about a dozen race dogs.
Other big names in the heats of the Ballarat Cup include Black Mumbo (heat one box two), Ando’s Mac (heat one box eight), Jesaulenko (heat two box four), Jimmy Newob (heat two box seven), Striker Light (heat three box four), Bewildering (heat four box four), Aston Dee Bee (heat five box six), Raw Ability (heat seven box one), Big Flood (heat eight box two) and Shadale (heat eight box three).
The first heat is race three which will jump at 6.42pm.