Azzopardi Anticipating A Temlee 'Riot'

ANTHONY Azzopardi has issued the strongest of warnings to Whiskey Riot’s rivals ahead of Saturday night’s Group 1 Temlee invitation at The Meadows.

Adam Dobbin

13 February 2020

ANTHONY Azzopardi has issued the strongest of warnings to Whiskey Riot’s rivals ahead of Saturday night’s Group 1 Temlee (525m) invitation at The Meadows.

And the warning is fairly straightforward.

The Melbourne Cup winner is going as good as ever. If not better.

“His last three trials have been as good as any in his career; I gave him a post-to-post at The Meadows on Monday and he broke the clock,” said Azzopardi ahead of Saturday night’s group 1 blockbuster.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had him as good as he’s feeling now. His trials at Warrnambool, Ballarat and The Meadows going into Saturday night have been sensational. It’s been the same preparation he had going into the Melbourne Cup.”

Whiskey Riot takes his place in Saturday night’s Temlee from box five, his first start since finishing fourth to La Grand Quality in last month’s Warragul Cup Final.

And while the first to concede box five is hardly ideal, Azzopardi is remaining confident that the son of Fernando Bale and Ready To Riot is going well enough to overcome the tricky draw.

“You don’t want to sound over confident in such a big race but I really think he’s on song to run a big one. He’s going as good as ever, no doubt. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

TAB currently has Whiskey Riot the $4.20 second favourite for the $100,000 to-the-winner feature behind $2.30 race favourite Simon Told Helen.

Good Odds Harada, in line to break Fanta Bale’s all-time prize money record if successful, is a $4.60 third elect from box two.

Interestingly, it’s the first time the Frank Hurst-trained son of Collision has drawn two since winning the Million Dollar Chase last October.

But for Azzopardi, he’s just worrying about his own backyard.

“Box five worries me a bit but as I said he’s at the top of his game,” added a confident Azzopardi. “I’m just hoping he can miss the six (Oakvale Beauty) early.

“If he can get a camp right behind Simon Told Helen he’ll make a race of it.”

On a huge night of racing, Azzopardi is represented in the other two group 1 invitation events also, with recent kennel acquisition Velocity Bettina drawn box six in the Rookie Rebel (600m) while Just Terms will exit box four in the Zoom Top (725m).

“We’ve drawn no good in any of the three (races),” lamented Azzopardi.

“I’m worried box six will bring Velocity Betina undone. She’s going well but I think it will be another month or so until we see the best of her. She came here in mint condition and might surprise me on Saturday but I just think she needed to draw better to be a proper chance.

“I expect Just Terms to run a big race; I’m very happy with her. She’s bouncing around and trialled real nice yesterday (Monday). If the breaks go her way in the run she’s a big show. If she gets a run she’ll cut and take it.”

If Just Terms wins Saturday night’s Group 1 Zoom Top it will be Azzopardi’s second victory in the race, successful back in 2016 with No Donuts.