By Michael Floyd
Aston Rupee’s path to superstardom took a big leap forward following his brilliant win in Thursday night’s Bill Collins Speed Star at Sandown Park.
The Glenn Rounds-trained youngster came into the series as the top seed courtesy of his eye-popping 28.927 qualification trial set 10 days earlier. He drew his brother Aston Fastnet in the final match of the night, and the pair took to the track looking to eclipse Equalizer’s time of 29.158.
Beginning cleanly to take full advantage of his inside draw, Aston Rupee clocked splits 5.06, 18.67 before powering home in 10.385 and announce his arrival as one of the sport’s hottest prospects.
“He went beautifully,” said Rounds after his win.
“I was very proud of him. You just put him in the box and the dog, well, he’s just a ripper. I have had lots and lots of dogs before but to get dogs at this level, it’s rare, very rare.”
Just five weeks past his second birthday, Aston Rupee has now won eight of his 14 starts and over $100,000 in prize money.
Rounds will now target the Group-1 Vic Peters at Wentworth Park before a tilt at the Group-1 Maturity at The Meadows in July with the TAB Melbourne Cup – for which he is the $14 favourite – the long-term goal.
Equalizer’s time was good enough to take second place overall, while Tiggerlong Tonk won a thrilling battle with Highly Explosive to claim third place. Kuro Kismet won the opening match in 29.251.
RSN Sandown Cup winner Zipping Rambo claimed the Racecaller Speed Star (595m) with a comfortable victory over Cash Stack in his match.
The top seed showed his recent exploits over 715 metres had done nothing to slow him over 595, running the fastest first split before winning in 33.772. The time was just under two lengths outside of his qualifying time but still good enough to be the second fastest time run in a match race over the distance and eighth fastest ever.
Bounce Back and Fractured filled the minor placings after winning their respective matches, while Nangar Rust defied a big plunge on his opponent Freda Rocks to take out the other match.
Emerging stayer Five Star claimed the biggest win of his young career winning the Lizrene Speed Star (715m) over favourite and top seed Hank The Hustler.
The pair run one-two in the Listed Cup Night Stayers on Sandown Cup night with Hank The Hustler prevailing by half a length. However, Five Star was able to flip the result in the match race format, much to the delight of trainer Paul Abela.
“Delight is an understatement mate,” he said.
“We’re very happy. I spoke to the owners – they’re rapt. I spoke to mum and dad – they’re a big part of the team – and they’re stoked. He’s a good pup.”
Abela has long held a high opinion of the dog and had high expectations of him entering the RSN Sandown Cup series but was thwarted by bad luck.
“We were pretty confident going into the Sandown Cup but he just got jammed up at the first corner (in his heat) and we missed out, but this is just as good I’d say.”
Each match winner picked up $5000 with another $10,000 going to the fastest time overall.
In the other matches over 715 metres, Sir Truculent made the most of his opportunity following the scratching of Kenny The Brute to win his match and take second place overall; Here’s Tears took out the night’s opening match; while Weblec Haze caused the upset of the night by winning the final match of the series behind RSN Sandown Cup placegetter Tyler Durden.
Speed Star Night 2021 Results
Bill Collins Speed Star (515m)
Match 1 – Kuro Kismet (2) defeated Well Grounded (1) by two lengths – 29.251
Match 2 – Equalizer (3) defeated Riccarton Rick (4) by half a length – 29.158
Match 3 – Tiggerlong Tonk (6) defeated Highly Explosive (5) by a head – 29.186
Match 4 – Aston Rupee (7) defeated Aston Fastnet (8) by three lengths – 29.055
Racecallers Speed Star (595m)
Match 1 – Fractured (1) defeated Jayville Slick (2) by one length – 34.115
Match 2 – Bounce Back (3) defeated Zipping Annabel (4) by six lengths – 33.976
Match 3 – Nangar Rust (6) defeated Freda Rocks (5) by two lengths – 34.314
Match 4 – Zipping Rambo (8) defeated Cash Stack (7) by five lengths – 33.772
Lizrene Speed Star (715m)
Match 1 – Here’s Tears (2) def We The People (1) by seven lengths – 41.680
Match 2 – Sir Truculent (9) defeated Line Of Quality (3) by one length – 41.627
Match 3 – Five Star (6) defeated Hank The Hustler (5) by four lengths – 41.498
Match 4 – Weblec Haze (8) defeated Tyler Durden (7) by one length – 41.993