Blink And You’ll Miss It: Azzopardi Eyes More Paws ‘Cash’

ANTHONY Azzopardi’s quest for an unprecedented fourth Group 1 Paws Of Thunder trophy kicks off at Wentworth Park this Saturday night when the Victorian conditioner lines up the hugely talented Cash Point and Aston Geisha in the heats of the $75,000 to-the-winner series.

Adam Dobbin

10 January 2019

ANTHONY Azzopardi’s quest for an unprecedented fourth Group 1 Paws Of Thunder trophy kicks off at Wentworth Park this Saturday night when the Victorian conditioner lines up the hugely talented Cash Point and Aston Geisha in the heats of the $75,000 to-the-winner series.

Claiming his first Paws Of Thunder title back in 2011 with Fancy Will, Azzopardi was to the fore again in 2016 when Asa Flying Spur caused a boilover victory defeating his more coveted kennelmate Zambora Brockie, while in 2018 Raw Ability was a rampaging winner of the January feature in a slick 29.86.

“A fourth one would be nice wouldn’t it?” quipped Azzopardi on Friday.

“Cash Point would be in the top five fastest dogs I’ve trained no question, his motor is unbelievable. He fell at Ipswich midway through last year when he was in Queensland with Bob (Cooke) and it spooked him so he’s taken some time and work. He’ll race in blinkers on Saturday night for the first time which should really help is confidence. I trialled him in them at Ballarat on Monday morning and he absolutely flew – he won a field trial going about half-a-second quicker than anything else. This dog has a serious engine.”

Check out Cash Point’s remarkable Ballarat victory!

Winner at seven of his 19 appearances, including his past two at Ballarat in breathtaking fashion, Cash Point is a son of Smooth Fancy, trained by Azzopardi to win the 2010 Group 1 National Sprint Championship at Angle Park.

“Look, it’s a big, big call but if this dog does everything right and the track is in good order, it seriously wouldn’t surprise me if he runs 29.30 odd on Saturday night,” declared Azzopardi.

“It’s a good field as you’d expect with Barooga Brett in the red, I’m just hoping from box two my bloke begins like he did in his trial on Monday and finds the front, on his sections I’ve got no doubt he can.”

Cash Point lines up in the opening heat (race 3) of the Ladbrokes-sponsored Paws Of Thunder on Saturday night from box two and has been installed a $5.00 third favourite behind Group 1 Silver Chief hero Barooga Brett ($2.20) and prolific group winning galloper Cosmic Bonus ($3.20).

And whilst Azzopardi has an air of confidence about Cash Point’s Paws prospects at the weekend, the leading conditioner is far more matter of fact about Aston Geisha’s claims in the fifth heat from box seven.

“Her main aim will be the Group 1 Futurity later in the month back to her own age and sex,” said Azzopardi.

“They were a bit short of nominations for the Paws heats and the plan was for her to head up and trial anyway so I decided to put her in. The experience will do her the world of good but to be honest she’s up against it. She does have speed though and goes good first up at tracks so there’s a bit in her corner.”

While Azzopardi will have a firm eye on Wentworth Park this weekend, he’s elected to stay at home where six of his Myrniong-based team are engaged at Warrnambool this Saturday night, including litter-brother and sister Seal The Deal and No Vacancy, set to start all-the-rage in the GRV Vic Bred Maiden Final (450m).

“The dog (Seal The Deal) is the better of the two but they’re both above average, he broke in very quick while she went good but you’ve still got to go on with it – I couldn’t be happier with them,” said Azzopardi of the unbeaten duo, offspring of Azzopardi’s former multiple group 1 winning galloper Zambora Brockie.

“I would have preferred them drawn inside for the final but you can’t protect them forever and they need to learn.

“There’s actually a bitch in the litter that broke in the fastest but she’s hurt a metacarpal so we’ll just need to see how things go with that. We bred and reared the litter and are now racing them so it makes it even more rewarding, especially being the first litter by Zambora Brockie to hit the track.”

And whilst Azzopardi appears to have a stranglehold on the $7,500 to-the-winner Maiden Final, the fun may well not stop there, lining up My Bro Kade (box three) and Whiskey Riot (box eight) in the $25,000 to-the-winner Summer Sizzle Final (450m), while Major Riot (box one) and Myrniong And All (box eight) will take their place in the $5,000 to-the-winner Warrnambool Fencing Specialists Sprint Final (390m).

“Hopefully it’s a good weekend!”