A Year On, Look At Hardaway Now

By Jeff Collerson
Hardaway Titan's win at Goulburn on Tuesday was his ninth from his past 10 starts, a far cry from the situation last year when the dog looked unlikely to race again.

Hardaway Titan was off the scene from June 18 to December 28 after putting his leg through a wire fence.

"He was tearing along a paddock and I could see he wasn't going to be able to pull up in time,'' trainer Ron Marsden said.

"At the last minute he tried to put the brakes on but crashed into the fence and when he put his leg through the wire, a tendon was sliced in half.

"He also sustained four fractures to the leg but the severed tendon was the worst aspect of his mishap.

"His leg could not be stitched up because there was nothing to stitch, so I bandaged the leg for three months and walked him in the salt water at Brighton every couple of days.

"Veterinary opinion was he was not likely to come back but he did and racked up three wins and a second.

"But in the last of these wins, when he was a long odds-on favourite at Goulburn, he only clocked 20.12 and I knew there was something amiss.

"I had a blood count done and his blood was way out, so he had another two months away from the track while I got that right.

"His win on Tuesday was his 30th in 47 starts and his time of 19.61 for the 350m was not too far off the record so he is ready to go again, even though he turned four in January.''

Hardaway Titan could become a star on the new Richmond straight track as the dog won over 300m and was runner-up over 350m in top company on Victoria's Healesville straight last spring.

Little Aston Zodiac is better suited on tighter two turns tracks than the roomy Maitland circuit but trainer Geoff Grimwood expects her to run her usual honest race in tonight’s group 2 Easts Maitland Gold Cup final.

In last week's heats Aston Zodiac, who almost always sets the pace in her races, had to come from behind to finish determinedly and win in 25.33 for the 450m trip.

Fastest qualifier More Sauce, who won in 24.76, has box one in the final, with his kennelmate Casual Glance, a 24.81 qualifier, drawing box seven.

"Aston Zodiac has been in several big finals and has not drawn a box yet, and she goes from box five in the Cup,'' Grimwood said.

"She is only 24.5kg and is the type of girl who likes to get out and go on two turn tracks so she is up against it from box five on a big speed course like Maitland.

"But she has made the final and when she contested her heat that was only her second time out of the 450m boxes at Maitland so she could improve.

"Aston Zodiac usually comes out fast and she needs to begin a bit better than she did in her heat.

"I would have preferred to see her drawn outside Casual Glance, because he could chop her off in the early stages.

"After Maitland Aston Zodiac will tackle the heats of the group 3 Ladies Bracelet at WP on May 1, that looks a good race for her, then she will be off to Dubbo for the Brother Fox Cup.''

Aston Zodiac will relish returning to Wentworth Park where she boasts a sizzling personal best time of 29.53 and posted a dazzling first split of 5.39 winning her seventh 520m race there on March 13.