In Form Abela Eyeing An Aston Double

IN form trainer Paul Abela is hoping to strike while the iron is hot with two top rated chances at Ballarat and Sandown Park this weekend.

Adam Dobbin

13 December 2019

TRAINER Paul Abela is hoping to strike while the iron is hot with two top rated chances at Ballarat and Sandown this weekend.

Riding the crest of a winning wave with his select team, successful with seven of his past 10 starters, the Parwan trainer is poised to play a key hand in Saturday’s Ballarat Cup program and Sunday’s heats of the Group 2 Laurels with Aston Perignon.

Winner of her past two in terrific fashion at Sandown and The Meadows, Aston Perignon, a daughter of Barcia Bale and Aston Gisle, takes her place in the opening heat on Sunday from the coveted rails alley.

“I can’t put my finger on why she’s improved as much as she has in the past six or so weeks … I mainly put it down to maturity and getting some confidence from better box draws finally,” Abela said.

“Early on in her career she just kept drawing wide and getting knocked around but she’s full of confidence now and I’m hoping she takes that into Sunday. But I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. She goes about 5.10 early so when you’re around that you need to draw inside four to be a chance of getting across.”

Eight heats of the bitches only classic are scheduled for this Sunday with each of the winners’ progressing through to next Thursday’s $50,000 to-the-winner group 2 final.

“I’ve been pretty easy on her since her Meadows win last Saturday knowing full well she’ll be on the quick back-up if she wins on Sunday,” Abela explained.

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“The bitch is absolutely thriving and if she gets through on Sunday the back up to Thursday won’t worry her at all.”

Bookmakers have installed Aston Perignon a $1.65 favourite for Sunday’s opening heat, a price that looks more than reasonable on the strength of her recent Sandown (29.65) and The Meadows (30.03) victories.

But it’s the appearance of Melbourne Cup finalist Oakvale Beauty in the final heat that has opposition trainers clamoring, the daughter of Kinloch Brae suited down to the ground back to her own sex and age.

“She ran out of her skin in the Melbourne Cup,” Abela said of Oakvale Beauty.

“But a lot can happen so we’ll just get through Sunday hopefully and see what plays out. But she’s definitely going to be hard to beat.”

24 hours prior to Aston Perignon’s Laurels assignment, Abela is represented at Ballarat with powerhouse galloper Aston Bintang, one of the leading chances in the $7,000 to-the-winner Summer Classic Final (450m).

“I just wanted to draw outside Emerald Rainbow which we have,” Abela said.

“He needs room to move early so the draw in four looks perfect with Emerald Rainbow in two. I had thought about putting him in the Ballarat Cup heats and looking back now I probably should have, it’s not as strong as I thought it would have been. But still he’s only very young still; I’ve just brought him along slowly.

“I trialled him at The Meadows post-to-post and he went unbelievably so after Ballarat I’ll go towards the Silver Chief with him. I don’t think two turns will be a worry at all.”

Winner at nine of his 15 starts, not included in those stats his Waterloo Cup coursing success, Aston Bintang (Barcia Bale x Fantastic Dotty) ran a scorching 25.17 to land his heat last Wednesday week and is the one to beat in Saturday’s final.

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