By David Nagel
There will be a huge hometown roar if Aston Miley can win the Group-2 TAB Warragul Cup on Saturday night, which is the second leg of greyhound racing’s rich Gippsland Carnival.
Trained just 10 minutes from the Warragul track by Eddie Lieshout at Drouin West, Aston Miley will have plenty of support from the local crowd in the $67,000 final, which boasts a $47,000 first prize.
Bred by Ray Borda in South Australia, Aston Miley is a litter sister to fellow Warragul Cup finalist Aston Dee Bee, with the pair among the six heat winners on Friday night.
Trained by Seona Thompson in Pearcedale, Aston Dee Bee, the reigning Melbourne Cup winner, has earned $714,675 in prize money, making him the eighth highest prize money earning greyhound in Australia’s history.
However Aston Miley is no slouch herself, clocking up eight wins from 18 starts and making the finals of prestigious races such as the Geelong Cup (3rd), Melbourne Cup (7th) and now the Warragul Cup.
“She is the first Warragul Cup finalist I’ve had in 30 years of training greyhounds,” Lieshout said.
“I’ve never had a greyhound good enough to even enter for the heats of this race, because you’ve got to be a special dog to win a big race like this. It’s every trainer’s dream to win their local cup, and I’ve never trained a group winner so it would be a huge thrill if she can win.”
Lieshout understands the huge task ahead for Aston Miley, who will need the support of her home crowd if she is to overcome the ever-present threat of Aston Dee Bee who stopped the clock quickest in 25.493 in the heats.
“It’s a big ask but she is going great,” he said.
“She is drawn in box eight and is quick early so that’s in her favour. The locals love her … they often ask where we are going to race her next. So we’ll all be on cloud nine if she can win.”
The 2017/18 Gippsland Carnival comprises the Sale Cup (December 26), Warragul Cup (January 13), Traralgon Cup (January 27) and the Cranbourne Cup (February 10), combining for $800,000 in prize money and bringing considerable economic support to the Gippsland region.
The winners and the two fastest second place getters earned their rugs in Saturday night’s final.
2018 TAB WARRAGUL CUP FINAL
Saturday 13 January
1. Black Mumbo Anthony Karabitsakos
2. Kouta Mayhem Jason Sharp
3. Tiempo Diero Michael Carter
4. Shadale Robert Redenbach
5. Aston Dee Bee Seona Thompson
6. Jimmy Newob Kelvyn Greenough
7. Northern Nangar Kelvyn Greenough
8. Aston Miley Eddie Lieshout
9. Crook Me Kindly Jessica Sharp
10. Data Star Ian Brown