Caishen On Track For Group Race Breakthrough

ANTHONY Azzopardi is remaining optimistic about Caishen’s claims in next Monday night’s $40,000 to-the-winner Ladbrokes Launceston Cup Final.

Adam Dobbin

15 February 2020

ANTHONY Azzopardi, fresh off a group 1 winning double at The Meadows on Saturday night, is remaining optimistic about Caishen’s claims in tonight’s $40,000 to-the-winner Ladbrokes Launceston Cup Final (515m).

But that optimism did slightly waiver when the 14-time winning son of Fernando Bale and Ready To Riot drew box eight for tonight’s group 2 decider … the extreme draw considered something of a “graveyard” at the tricky Launceston circuit.

In fact, 34 races have been conducted over the 515 metres so far in 2020 with box eight responsible for just three wins at a modest strike-rate of 8.82%. Box seven is even worse, yet to record a win so far this year.

“It’s not a good draw at all but I still think he’s good enough to overcome it,” Azzopardi said.

Six heats of the Launceston Cup were run and won last Monday night with the Azzopardi-trained Caishen clearly setting the time standard with an emphatic 29.41 heat display.

Carving out electrifying sectionals of 4.93s and 17.35s up the back, the recent Paws Of Thunder placegetter cemented favoritism for the rich final with his commanding 8 ¾ length winning romp.

“We sent him over on the plane to trial and dead set in all my time as a trainer I’ve never had a better traveler,” Azzopardi said.

“We put him in the crate and he laid down and went to sleep. He left Melbourne weighing 28.4 and arrived in Tassie 28.4. He’ll flew back over on Saturday to get ready for Monday. The travel doesn’t worry me at all. He’ll be fine.”

Caishen, a litter-brother to Saturday night’s group 1 Temlee winner Whiskey Riot, is the lone interstate runner in tonight’s group 2 showpiece.

The remaining heats last Monday were annexed by the Ted Medhurst-trained Connected and Mr. Camacho in 29.70 and 30.04, while the Ben Englund-trained Wynburn Lethal showed terrific speed to record an all-the-way 29.66 victory.

The Paul Hili-trained Nitro Sambar took one step closer to claiming the Launceston Cup with a sizzling 29.61 heat win, while in the final qualifier Outlaw Teddy scored decisively in 29.86.

“I had a good look at the heats last Monday night and was impressed with the dog that drew the red in the final (Connected),” Azzopardi said. “I’d say he’ll be the hardest to beat.”

“Drawing the eight is a disappointment but I’m told the six and seven cut to the fence so if he runs his sections from the heats he still should be good enough to lead. His sections on Monday were out of this world. The dog is absolutely thriving.

“It would be great to win the race for (owners) Charlie and Matthew Riccio.

After he finished third in the Paws Of Thunder they actually suggested the Launceston Cup for him so they’re the reason we’re there really.”

Group 2 Ladbrokes Launceston Cup Box Draw (515m)
(Monday, February 16)

1. Connected
2. Nitro Sambar
3. Buckle Up Azona
4. Outlaw Teddy
5. Twisted Reality
6. Mr. Camacho
7. Wynburn Lethal
8. Caishen
9. Leica Prayer
10. Definite Signs