LEGEND caused one of the biggest group racing upsets of 2016 when it won his heat of the Group 2 Shepparton Cup on Monday night, and now his hobby trainer is hoping he can do it again when he lines up in the $47,000 final on Friday.
Trained by Pia Triaca, the red brindle dog was sent to the traps as the $39.50 outsider against a superb field that featured Bearville Azza, Black Frenzy, Rare Pearl, Shared Bonus and Spring Missile – all of which started under double figure odds.
It was a good thing Legend wasn’t told no one thought he could win.
Shanghaiing out of the boxes, the regally-bred son of Barcia Bale and Oh So Fancy went straight to the early lead and, despite scouting wide around the home turn, was never in danger, scoring by two-and-one-quarter lengths in 25.27.
“I gave him a place chance going into the race because he is going super at the moment but to be honest I didn’t think he could beat Jason Thompson’s dog (Black Frenzy) because everyone was raving about it,” Triaca told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I couldn’t believe the price. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything on him as I forgot to back him at his last two wins so I didn’t want to put a mock on him.
“It was a huge thrill, I couldn’t believe it.”
The victory gave Legend 11 wins from just 22 starts, with Triaca explaining he is only just starting to hit his straps.
“He broke in really well and I ended up sending him up to a trainer in Grafton. When that didn’t work out I brought him back to my place and it took him a while to settle in.
“I gave him a little break as he had a few niggling little issues and I thought he was getting a little tired – so he had about three weeks off and then I put him back into work.
“I think it helped him out as he is beginning a lot better this preparation, he is really flying out of the boxes.”
Purchased off Tyrone Whittington and Greg Sprod as a pup, Legend, $34 with Bet365, will give Triaca her biggest victory in over 10 years of training if he can steal the show from box three on Friday night.
However, there will be some top quality opposition standing in his way, including the fastest qualifier Aston Bolero (box one), one of three runners for Jason Thompson who also prepares Dewana Result (box six) and Dalgetty (box eight).
Aston Bolero has been installed as the $1.90 favourite to take out the race after recording a scintillating 25.07 victory on Monday. The son of Fabregas and Aston Dream has now won 17 races from 27 starts including three from five over the track and trip at Shepparton.
While it is a tough final, Triaca is not ruling her charge out of the finish.
“He will improve off his heat but I am worried about the four dog (Gotta Get Back) of John Mcclelland’s as he can ping the lids too.
“The worry with that is at this stage my dog will probably fold a bit if he gets pressured because he is still only young and he is still learning.
“However, if he does happen to jump and he gets a clear run then I think he is a good chance.
“At the end of the day I never dreamed that I would actually make the final so it is a huge thrill just to be in the race win, lose or draw.”
The Group 2 Shepparton Cup is race eight on the card this Friday and is set to jump at 9:28pm AEDT.
Watch Legend (3) winning his heat of the Group 2 Shepparton Cup.