Hard Style Rico has taken trainer Luckie Karabitsakos on one hell of a ride and the biggest thrill yet may still be upon him as ‘Rico’ lines up in Friday’s TAB Melbourne Cup final.
He’s got a fair list of accomplishments but has met no bigger assignment than the world’s greatest greyhound race.
“He has done a fair bit in his career, he’s won a Shepparton Cup, broken a track record and a few sectional records as well, but the feeling of making a Melbourne Cup is very different,” said Karabitsakos.
Hard Style Rico is a homegrown hero as Karabitsakos whelped Rico’s litter, reared, educated and now trains him. It wasn’t long into the process where the talent was clear.
“He was going well during education but when we were getting him race fit the times he was running were amazing. When they do it that early you know you’ve got a good one.”
It will be the 10th group race final Hard Style Rico has been a part of and he knows how to get the job done having won a Shepparton Cup and most recently the RSN Silver Bullet at The Meadows in blazing style.
He qualified for the TAB Melbourne Cup with a comfortable heat win in a fast time of 29.17sec. Box five isn’t perfect for the brindle-coloured powerhouse however Karabitsakos is optimistic.
WATCH: Hard Style Rico win his TAB Melbourne Cup heat from box eight.
“As we know they call it the squeeze box, but if he comes out running he will be in the contest. He went super in his heat, I’m really proud of him.”
Karabitsakos has been around greyhounds all of his life with his late father introducing them to him at a young age.
After Friday’s heat, Karabitsakos received a message from his brother Anthony which included “dad would be proud of you”.
“He always taught me whatever you do, put everything you’ve got into it.”