More than two decades after saddling up his maiden metropolitan starter, 73-year-old Queanbeyan trainer Fabian Azzopardi has celebrated his first city win at Randwick with Look Only.
Starting at $7.50, the filly produced a powerful finish under apprentice Brock Ryan to snare Saturday’s Highway Handicap (1000m) by a half-length over All In War ($9), with Tango Stepz ($20) the same margin away third.
Azzopardi took out his licence in 1990 and dabbled in training while he held down a full-time job with the council.
Look Only is just the second horse he has brought to town after Bree’s Victory, who twice raced at Canterbury in 1996.
Azzopardi admitted he had all but given up on having a horse good enough to win a city race.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen but it has,” Azzopardi said.
“I’m over the moon. And with a little filly like that, she’s only small but she’s got a tonne of guts.
“I brought a horse called Bree’s Victory down and she ran fourth at Canterbury … that’s the only one I’ve had down here about 25 years ago.
“It was behind one of Bart Cummings’ horses, he had the winner.”
Azzopardi’s uncle, Tony Azzopardi, owned 1984 Miracle Mile winner Double Agent and the Queanbeyan horseman said his family had long been involved with horses and greyhounds.
Look Only, who notched her third win from just six starts, could have one more start before being spelled.
“I think next season she will be better when she’s a bit older. There’s not much of her and a spell will do her good,” Azzopardi said.