Vince Tullio is certainly no stranger to feature race success, having celebrated Group 1 glory as an owner in recent years with star sprinters Dalgetty (2016 Temlee) and Blackalls Boss (2012 Hobart Thousand).
However, the Pearcedale owner/trainer is hoping to break new ground in Saturday night’s Group 3 RAMS Cranbourne Classic Final (520m) by claiming his first Group trophy as a trainer with surprise heat winner Perceptive.
Perceptive, which is bred and raced by Tullio, caused a major upset when producing the standout performance in the heats of the $25,000 to-the-winner Classic, where he started at $21.60 but upstaged fancied trio Rockoon, Jimmy Newob and Right On Cue in 30.21sec, his seventh win from 35 starts.
“To be honest Perceptive is just a handy dog, but I’m hoping he can take the next step over the next six months,” Tullio offered candidly.
“I wouldn’t put him in the same class as Dalgetty or Blackalls Boss. Not even close. But I do give him a good chance on Saturday night and it would definitely be a big thrill to win my first Group race as a trainer!”
Tullio recently took over the training reins with Perceptive and immediately dropped the homebred son of Barcia Bale and Veetee Express, which won 22 races and $47,000 in prizemoney, back from a 650m Shepparton success to the 520m of Cranbourne’s Classic.
The decision proved to be a masterstroke, with Perceptive justifying Tullio’s decision to tackle the second biggest event on the Cranbourne GRC calendar, although Vince was ruing a very costly near-miss on a multi bet.
“I thought Perceptive was a rough chance in his heat so I put him in the multi, but I wasn’t real happy when Hawthorn got beaten by Carlton!” Tullio said.
“The heat field was very tough but I know the dog and what he can trial. On paper he probably should’ve been 30/1 but I thought he was a 6/1 or 7/1 chance. He did what he needed to do and he’s drawn the red for the final, which is obviously where you want to be.
“He’ll probably be $6 or $7 but if he was drawn out wide he would’ve been 20/1. Zara’s Entity (box 4) is very good, but I think the two (One Required) will lead and hopefully we’ll be sitting behind it and we’ll go straight past it!
“I bought my property off Robert Crawford last November and have spent an absolute fortune on setting the joint up how I wanted it and I decided I might as well start getting my dogs back to train them myself. Mario Briganti (Group 1-winning trainer) is giving me a hand and he’s been a great help teaching me.”
Tullio is hoping Perceptive, which has won three of four starts from box one, can add another winning photograph to his already sizeable collection, which he proudly displays alongside another impressive red speed machine – his Ferrari.
“The Ferrari is a very nice car but I would trade it in for a fast dog!” Tullio laughed.