Mackay’s Aston Duke wins Maitland Gold Cup

Aston Duke may not be the fastest greyhound Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay has put a collar on but he is now up there with the best after winning the Group 2 Maitland Gold Cup.

The son of Go Wild Teddy and Aston Elle was able to rail to the lead from box two and lifted in the run home to hold out 450 metre track record holder Hone In and take the $40,000 first prize in 24.88 seconds last Thursday night. Sharon Webster’s Lagoon Pirate came from midfield to finish third.

Aston Duke began his racing career at Maitland back in October when second in a heat of the rich Future Stars Maiden series and since then has recorded 12 wins from 25 starts and collected $82,875 in prizemoney for Mackay and owner Ray Borda.

Borda is one of the leading owner/breeders in Australia and Aston Duke is a younger half brother to Borda’s 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee.

The Gold Cup final was always going to be decided by the run to the first turn and at that point it appeared the Paul Abela-trained Aston Dinnigan from box three would be hard to beat.

Aston Dinnigan was about three quarters of a length in front of Aston Duke and Anthony Azzopardi’s Lucky Chap as they hit the corner but Aston Duke exploded on the bend to rail under them and from there he never looked in danger of losing.

The Brett Bravo-trained Hone In was the race favourite at $3.70 after clocking a track record 24.63s in the heats a week earlier but luck didn’t go his way from box six in the final.

Hone In struck interference on the turn and did very well to finish second.

The finishing order for the 2018 Maitland Gold Cup was: 1st Aston Duke, 2nd Hone In, 3rd Lagoon Pirate, 4th Aston Dinnigan, 5th Cavatron, 6th Big Black, 7th Tristan Cannon and 8th Lucky Chap.

Aston Duke, box two, wins the Groups 2 Maitland Gold Cup for Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay.

Track in top condition

Congratulations to track curator Luke Baker on presenting a super fast racing surface for Maitland Greyhound Club’s Gold Cup series.

Baker is fast becoming one of the best loam track curators in the state and since December track records have fallen over all three race distances - 400m, 450m and 565m.

The Robert Smith-trained Lochinvar Hugo lowered the 565m track record to 31.20s on December 28, the Darren Russell-trained Precious Sal clocked 21.87s to set a new 400m record on January 25 and Brett Bravo’s Hone In lowered the 450m track record to 24.63s on April 5.

Well done Luke.

Big night

Maitland Gold Cup night also highlighted a number of other feature races.

Mark Davidson’s Shaun’s Entity won the Commercial Painting Group Cup, Donna Campbell’s La Chica Pequena won the Margaret Dunn Memorial, Mark Craig’s Anne’s Nitro won the Ladbrokes Damsel Dash, Chrystal Hensing’s Rip Masters won the J&H Air Conditioning Bronze Bullet, Mark Davidson’s Confinement won the Rutherford Hotel Stakes and Susan Smith’s Morse won the TuffRock Stakes.

Monster trucks

Trainers are reminded that trials at Maitland Showground on Friday, April 20 will start at 9am and will need to be finished before 11am to allow the final set-up for the Monster Truck show that evening.

Organisers have already started to bring in cars and build obstacles in the centre ring for what promises to be an exciting night of high-octane fun.

Tickets for the event are available from the Maitland Showground office on Blomfield Street.

More meetings

Maitland looks likely to host more Tuesday night meetings while the Gosford track is down for renovations.

Maitland was booked up until April 24 but this may now continue until mid-May.