Goulburn Cup Within Reach For Derry Express

GUN trainer Anthony Azzopardi heads to Goulburn on Sunday with top chances in both feature races but with a looming Melbourne Cup at home as well.

David Brasch

22 October 2021

GUN Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi heads to Goulburn on Sunday with top chances in both feature races but with a looming Melbourne Cup at home as well.

Derry Express comes out of the five in the Group 3 Goulburn Cup Final (440m), while Kepal has drawn the seven in the Fireball Final (350m).

But Azzopardi is raving about youngster Ben Mayo, the Collision and Nino De Oro youngster coming off a scorching 29.14 Sandown win and now Melbourne Cup bound.

“Derry Express might have box five in the Cup final but that is not a worry at all for him,” said Azzopardi of the 15-time winner.

FIELDS AND FORM GOULBURN SUNDAY

Derry Express is owned by Jodie Lord who will be represented in the Cup final by Mr Ticket and Ritza Donald and also has Winlock On Top as first reserve.

“This dog loves Goulburn,” Azzopardi added.

“Which is only to be expected because he would have had lots of education around the track coming from Jodie and Andy’s kennels.

“He has a very good chance in the final and he should be able to put a lot of pressure on Wow early. He’s a good lump of a dog too.”

Wow, the nominal favourite for the final and reigning Goulburn Cup champ, has drawn the four, and Azzopardi is highly respectful of the great sprinter’s Cup hopes.

“If Wow jumps in front it will be shut the gate for the rest of us,” he said.

“But, Derry Express is a very good dog, the perfect traveler, very good chaser and probably one of the only Larkhill Jo offspring going around.”

He is not so sure about Kepal in the Fireball Final.

“I’ve only had him for one run which was the heat last week and he got a bit lost,” said Anthony. “He’s a fast dog, good beginner and will improve. I think he can run 19.50 this week.

“But, from the seven he is not well boxed and will need to get across the field to win. That is the task – and it is a very hard race.”

But Azzopardi is high on the future for boom youngster Ben Mayo.

“He’s a very good pup, a serious dog,” he said.

“I’m aiming him at the Melbourne Cup Preludes with the target being the Melbourne Cup and long term the Silver Chief. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Azzopardi said Ben Mayo is on a learning curve.

“When he gets to the front he can run anything like the 29.14 he went at Sandown,” he said.

“But when he gets behind he starts doing a few things wrong. He’s got to learn by going to the races.

“I’ll put him in against the good dogs because often when a young pup like this gets in against those dogs, the cleaner racing allows them to learn quicker than against slower dogs.

“He’ll be in the deep end from now on.”

Ben Mayo has started seven times for four wins and has twice won in 29.79 at The Meadows as well.