It’s her local racetrack, and a race her mother has won twice, which just adds a little more incentive for Danielle Matic to capture this year’s Group 3 Goulburn Cup which kicks off this Sunday.
The Goulburn Club has drawn four very strong heats of their feature event, with Matic having three runners, superstar sprinter and track record holder Wow, his litter brother Ad Astra and the consistent Maldini.
The club will also stage four heats of their Fireball series over the 35om trip, which will be headlined by Michelle Lill’s star sprinter More Sauce, runner-up in last Friday’s Black Top at The Gardens.
But it is the Cup where Matic’s focus is. Her mother Ruth won the event in 2009 with Shamus O’Shaw, and again the following year with Joey Gez.
As for Wow, he is chasing back-to-back Goulburn Cups having beaten his brother Ad Astra in last year’s final when the pair were both trained by Karina Britton.
“It’s our local track and mum has won it twice, so it would be nice to get a third one,” Danielle said.
Wow hasn’t raced since finishing second to Good Odds Cash at Bulli on August 28, with Danielle revealing the he suffered an injury during that race.
“He hurt his flexor tendon, in his foot … there was a little tear there,” she explained. “But it’s mended well and he’s fine now.”
Wow knows Goulburn and loves Goulburn, having raced there five times for four wins and a second, and in July set the track record for the 440m at 24.18s. Three weeks later he clocked 24.19s at the venue. Danielle said he has trialled once at Goulburn over the 350m in the lead-up to the Cup heats and she was pleased with the run.
He has drawn box two in heat two and will clash with the ever-consistent Winlock On Top (box 1), Mr Ticket (box 3) and the evergreen Ebby Infrared (box 4).
The final of the Cup is on October 24, and Danielle is hoping that a trip to Melbourne might be next on the agenda.
“We got an invite to the Topgun yesterday, so we’ll have to see if he goes well in Goulburn Cup to be considered, but that’s at the Meadows (on November 6) which he loves.
“I have got owners in Victoria who said they can meet us at the border if needed, and I would trust them with the dogs, it just depends what the situation is at the time.
“Dogs like him don’t come along every year, so you have to have a go at these races, and we will be looking at the Melbourne Cup after that.”
Ad Astra has drawn box 8 in heat one and will clash with More Sauce’s brother Casual Glance (box 6), former track record holder Mellcat Big Boy (box 1), as well as Cumbria Dreaming (box 3) and Ritza Tommy (box 2).
Danielle explained that Ad Astra had chipped his stopper bone and injured the tendon in finishing second to Barcia Blue Boy in the Bulli Gold Cup Final back in February.
He has had for runs up the Richmond straight and two over the 350m at Goulburn since returning, and she had considered running him in the Fireball heats but felt the 440m was a much better distance for him.
“He had a really bad stopper bone injury and had to be operated on,” she said. “We were just looking at his run home times of his 350m races and they were really good and he just hasn’t been jumping as well, and we didn’t want to risk putting him over the 350m so we put him over the 440m.”
Danielle’s other runner Maldini has drawn box one in the final heat and will clash with the Tracey Hurst-trained Good Odds Cash (box 4) who was a shock exit in the heats of the Peter Mosman Opal last Saturday at Wentworth Park when slowly away and finding trouble.
In the other heat, Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi, who won the Cup in 2015 with Let It Develop, has drawn the one box with Aston Titan who followed a trio of wins at Warragul and Geelong, with a sound third behind Typhoon Sammy in track record time at Bendigo last weekend.
A winner of 16 races from 42 starts, Aston Titan has won 5 of his 8 starts when wearing the red rug.
Azzopardi is also bringing Derry Express for the Cup heats and he is drawn in the final heat, along with three greyhounds for the heats of the Fireball – Untapped Ability (heat 2), Kepal (heat 3) and Diamond Ability (heat 4).
Azzopardi won the Fireball back in 2018 with Myrniong And All.