Azza Azza Azza completed a faultless Shepparton Cup campaign on Sunday night, which could prove a stepping stone to greater riches with the Australian Cup Carnival on our doorstep.
After easily running the fastest heat time and then drawing the cherished box 1 in the final, Azza Azza Azza made the Group 2 CKH Shepparton Cup (450m) series his own, leading all the way as the $1.60 Favourite in the final to score by five lengths and snare the $45,000 first prize.
The magnitude of the victory, Azza Azza Azza’s first at group level , wasn’t lost on Brad Keel, who has handled the greyhound on behalf of trainer Wayne Vassallo in all bar two of his 30 starts.
“When you’ve got a talented greyhound like him, some people think winning big races like country cups are just handed to you, but they are always very hard to come by,” Keel said.
“You look at the field tonight and there was so much quality. The reality is that here in Victoria, any cup race is so prestigious because of the calibre of greyhounds running around in this state.”
Keel pointed to Azza Azza Azza’s liking for the Shepparton track as a key part of the win.
“He has won four from four here now. I wish every group race was held at Shepparton because he loves the place,” he laughed.
However, Azza Azza Azza is now destined for the bright lights of The Meadows, with the Australian Cup on the agenda.
The Australian Cup Carnival kicks off on Feb 22 three Group 1 Invitationals as well as eight Preludes of the Australian Cup, the winners of which to join the top 56 ranked sprinters that gain automatic entry into the Australian Cup heats.
Azza Azza Azza, now with a Group 2 win under his belt, will almost certainly be among the top 56 entrants given he has a Group 2 victory among his 20 wins (from 30 starts).
“He’s a very, very fast greyhound with high-turn speed and he can run out 500 metres,” Keel said.
“He’ll enter the Australian Cup with plenty of confidence and hopefully he has now done enough to secure his place among the top 56 greyhounds which will allow him to bypass the first week of the series.”
Azza Azza Azza (Collision – Alotta Mojo) was bred by Vassallo and is owned by the Whittington Sprod Syndicate, and he won in 25.126sec.
The $45,000 first prize took his career earnings up to $112,000.
Watch: Azza Azza Azza (1) makes the Shepparton Cup his own.
Pics: BlueStream Pictures