Masters Meteor In Sight For Caishen's Comeback

MATT Riccio will be chasing a dream start to his training career when Caishen makes his long awaited return from injury at Bulli on Saturday night.

Adam Dobbin

29 July 2021

MATT Riccio will be chasing a dream start to his training career when classy sprinter Caishen makes his long awaited return from injury at Bulli on Saturday night.

25-year-old Riccio has only held his trainers licence for a fortnight but it’s by no means his first foray into greyhound racing, having ably assisted father Charlie for the best part of two decades.

FIELDS AND FORM BULLI SATURDAY NIGHT

“It’s not bad to have your first starter which has already won a group race and over $100,000 in prizemoney,” Riccio quipped.

“But Saturday night really is just a starting point for him. It’s been a long road to get him back to the races and ideally I would have loved to get him in a Masters race first up but unfortunately there wasn’t one programmed.

“He’s found a tough race and while he’ll never be the dog he was, he’s still going well enough and a few starts will do his confidence the world of good.

“He’s a dog that just loves to race.”

When Caishen steps out in race one at Bulli on Saturday night it will be his first start since August last year.

The regally bred son of Fernando Bale and Ready To Riot – a litter-brother to Melbourne Cup winner Whiskey Riot and Australian Cup hero Fernando’s Riot – won 10 races for champion Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi, including victory in the Group 2 Launceston Cup.

His first eight career wins – including his debut success at Bulli way back in November, 2018 – was under the tutelage of Charlie Riccio.

Another career highlight was his gallant third in last year’s Group 1 Paws Of Thunder behind King Cratos and Feral Franky.

“He’s been a wonderful dog for me,” Riccio said.

“When he came back home from Anthony we were setting him up for the Black Top at The Gardens but he did a stopper bone which has kept him out for all this time.

“They never come back as good as they were but he’s showing us with how he’s going he’s lost none of his early zip.

“If things go to plan we’ll target the Masters Meteor with him at Wentworth Park. He’s four-and-a-half and that looks an ideal race for him if he holds up like we hope.”

On Tuesday night, the boutique Riccio kennel was in full swing at Gosford with Half Thinking scoring in a slick 29.82.

The well supported commodity kicking off what could be a big week for the Loftus-based father and son training duo.

“I’m glad Matt’s taken out his licence – he’s been a big help to me here with the dogs since he was young,” Charlie Riccio said.

“But he’s struck a hot race first up on Saturday night. He’s not the dog he was – how can he be – but he’s showing us he still wants to race and still has that early zip.

“When he gets to Wenty over 500 metres is when you’ll see the best of him.

“To get a Masters race for him now he’d have had to go to the bend starts at Richmond or Gosford and you’d have a better chance of winning lotto without a ticket than that.

“It’s funny – we’ve got one of the best bred dogs in the country with a sensational race record but there’s no stud career waiting for him – he’s got no nuts!”