It might have been a caretaker win in some respects, but the record books will clearly state that Northern Rivers trainer Robert Cooke added the 2021 Group 3 Casino Cup to his 2021 Group 2 Lismore Cup from last month when Aston Titan arrived just in time to capture the feature on Thursday afternoon.
Cooke won the Lismore Cup in October when his talented sprinter Cash View arrived in the final stride to defeat the fancied Louis Rumble.
On Thursday at Casino, again Louis Rumble was expected to win, and again Cooke’s runner arrived in the final bound to secure victory, however, this time it was a different dog in Aston Titan, and this time he ran down a different leader in Reg Gardoll’s Proficiency.
Cooke’s name was in the racebook as trainer of Aston Titan, but the dog had been racing in Victoria until last month when leading mentor Anthony Azzopardi sent it to Goulburn for their Cup.
Aston Titan failed to reach the Goulburn Cup final, so Azzopardi then sent the dog to Cooke at his Woodview kennels just outside Casino with the aim the $25,000 on offer for the Casino Cup.
“This was a great result,” Azzopardi, who made the trip to Casino for the final, said. “I had eyed this race off for a while now because I thought he would be suited here and we got the result.
“I’d like to thank Cookie, he looks after my dogs really well.”
Many expected Louis Rumble to charge to the lead and sizzle along, particularly on his stunning heat win last week of 27.07s.
But he was not his dynamic self from boxrise and was unable to cross and Proficiency was able to stride away.
Up the back it was a race in four – Proficiency, Mitchell Road, Aston Titan who was posied behind that pair, and Louis Rumble who was stuck out wide but still a threat.
Aston Titan was eventually able to push through and get the run and arrived just in time to win in 27.63s, with Proficiency second and Mia Magic running on for third. Louis Rumble ran wide on the home tyurn and could manage only fifth.
“It was worth the trip up here,” Azzopardi said. “It’s nice to get out of the rat race for a little while.”