Joe Azzopardi’s Pinjarra Classic boost

Just under a month since fracturing his cheekbone at Lark Hill trials, Azzopardi expertly guided River Rubicon to victory in the Listed Pinjarra Classic (1300m) on Sunday.

Azzopardi hopes a faster than expected recovery is the trigger for more success on the eve of Perth’s autumn carnival.

“You always need a little bit of a kick along when you get back from injury,” Azzopardi said on Tabradio.

“Although I had been back a week things were a little slow and it’s nice to get a winner like that and get the ball rolling again, for sure.

“I didn’t need surgery which is nice, nothing was displaced and it healed up pretty quick.

“Once the swelling went down and everything like that the pain wasn’t too bad.

“It’s not one hundred per cent healed at the moment, but it doesn’t give me pain or anything.”

River Rubicon broke a track record when storming from the back of the field to defeat Searchin’ Roc’s by a short-head in a thrilling finish.

The son of Rubick will next chase a provincial feature sprint race double in the $150,000 Listed Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on March 9.

“That’s the next stop, the Bunbury Stakes,” Azzopardi said.

“He’ll be a great ride in that, obviously.

“Hopefully we can go two for two.”

Trained by Stephen Wolfe, who is also a part-owner, River Rubicon, was bought for $12,000 as a yearling.

The Pinjarra Classic improved his record to eight wins and as many placing from 25 starts for half a million dollars in earnings.

Azzopardi hopes to keep his winning momentum rolling at Ascot on Saturday with Cosmic Crusader.

On a Derby path for owners Bob and Sandra Peters, Cosmic Crusader tackles the Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) first up.

“He showed a bit last time in,” Azzopardi said.

“I think he’s definitely matured since a spell.

“Heading to the WA Derby he’ll be a nice ride.”

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