At Hawkesbury north-west of Sydney, Riverbank Agistment's beautifully-bred Gr1-winning stallion Skilled (Commands-Dextrous, by Quest For Fame) added a Listed race success when 5YO Australian-bred mare Pecans (Skilled-Walnut, by Procol Harum) resumed from a four month break to win the $150,000 Listed Ladies Day Cup (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Burning Passion & Fabrizio. Pecans, who was sold by Godolphin to Tricolours Syndications for $50,000 at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne August Bloodstock Sale, improved her record to 6 wins (including the Gr3 Godolphin Crown) and 5 placings from 16 starts for $371,990 in earnings.
Smart gelding Fabrizio (High Chaparral-Desina, by Desert King) has thrived in the lead-up to today’s Listed Scone Cup (1600m), according to co-trainer Adrian Bott. Bott, who trains in partnership with Gai Waterhouse, said Fabrizio had improved significantly since his return to the winner’s circle in the Gr3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup last start. “He’s super. We were delighted with his performance at Hawkesbury last time, it was a strong win and it’s brought him on immensely,” Bott told ANZ Bloodstock News. “We saw last preparation how he improved from each start, and we feel he’s really come on again since that last start.” Bott added: “If that is the case, then he will take a stack of beating. He’s fit and well and jumping out of his skin, he’s in a really good frame of mind at the moment.” Fabrizio, a homebred for George Altomonte’s Corumbene Stud, showed what he is capable of when in peak form when scoring a dominant front-running win in the Listed James Boag's Premium Stakes (1800m) at Flemington in the spring.
A staggering 425 nominations have been received for this week's prestigious two-day Darley Scone Cup Carnival, reports racingnsw.com.au. The carnival will offer $2 million in prize money across sixteen races, including the Gr3 Dark Jewel Classic and five Listed races. "The nominations for this year's carnival are exceptional," Scone Race Club CEO Heath Courtney said. "We are very happy with the quality of interest, in particular for the Scone Cup." Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner Fabrizio will line up in the $200,000 Scone Cup (1600m) along with last year's winner Pajaro and runner-up Amovatio. The Waterhouse-Bott yard has eight horses nominated for the carnival, Chris Waller has 28 nominated, while former locals Peter and Paul Snowden have entered 14 horses. "It's wonderful to have strong interest from Sydney's leading stables," Mr Courtney said. "I'd like to thank Darley, Inglis and all other sponsors for their support. Without them the Scone Cup Carnival wouldn't be the blue ribbon event it is today." The Scone carnival will kick off this Friday (12th May) and conclude on Saturday (13th May).
At Hawkesbury north-west of Sydney, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) added a Group success when 5YO gelding Fabrizio (High Chaparral-Desina, by Desert King) returned to his best form with a front-running victory in the $200,000 Gr3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Moher & Testashadow. A homebred for George Altomonte's Corumbene Stud, Fabrizio - who descends from the same female line as Melbourne Cup winner Subzero - improved his record to 8 wins (including the Listed James Boag's Premium Stakes) and 1 placing from 14 starts for $392,050 earnings. Fabrizio is now likely to step up in distance for the Gr3 Chairman's Handicap over (2000m) at Doomben on 13 May.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott yard are bullish about the prospects of exciting galloper Fabrizio (High Chaparral-Desina, by Desert King) in tomorrow's Gr2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick. The 5YO, who tuned up for his latest appearance with a 1030m barrier trial win at Rosehill Gardens on 6 December, marked himself as one of the most promising horses in training when scoring a front-running 3.25 length win in the Listed James Boag's Premium Stakes (1800m) at Flemington in the spring. “His work has been phenomenal and we were delighted with his trial. We’re going into Saturday with a lot of confidence. I don’t think he has ever been in such good form,” said the stable’s racing manager Emma Pearce. “We put him out in the paddock for a week. He went out in sensational order and came back looking like he had longer than a week. He did really, really well." Pearce added: "He is lightly-raced and a horse going forward that they are going to have a hell of a lot of fun with. Gai has got Doncaster in her mind.” The Villiers winner will earn an automatic entry in next year's Gr1 Doncaster Mile. Click here to watch Fabrizio's trial.
Trainer Chris Waller will use Saturday's November Topaz (1900m) at Rosehill as a guide to the autumn prospects of former US galloper Closing Bell, reports racenet. Closing Bell, by dual champion North American sire Tapit, made an encouraging Australian debut when a luckless sixth behind the promising Fabrizio in the Listed Cup Day Plate (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day. Part-owned by high profile Hunter Valley stud Newgate Farm, Closing Bell (Tapit-Rehear, by Coronado's Quest) boasts some excellent US credentials, including a fourth place finish in last year's Gr1 Belmont Derby and runner-up to the world-class Highland Reel in the Gr1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington. Waller says the plan is to win a major race with the 5YO before he retires to stud. "His first run in Australia was good, he didn't have a lot of luck," Waller said. "I would just like him to have one more run and then work out where he fits into the autumn." He added: "He's by a very good stallion. We'd like to prepare him for a serious attempt at a Group One race at some stage in Sydney and if not in Queensland. Probably around the 2000 metre distance."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the time honoured $1 million Gr1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Favourite for the race is the Godolphin-owned Hauraki at $5.50, ahead of last-start Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes winner Palentino at $6. Next in the betting is the progressive import McCreery at $6.50, then dual Gr1 placegetter Happy Clapper at $7.50, while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fabrizio is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The field is:
1. PALENTINO (Darren Weir-Mark Zahra) 57kg (9)
2. HAURAKI (John O'Shea-James McDonald) 56kg (10)
3. LE ROMAIN (Kris Lees-Hugh Bowman) 55.5kg (3)
4. HAPPY CLAPPER (Patrick Webster-Brenton Avdulla) 55kg (1)
5. MIGHTY LUCKY (Fred Cowell-Chris O'Brien) 54.5kg (12)
6. DIBAYANI (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-Damian Lane) 54kg (11)
7. SONS OF JOHN (Jason Attard-Glen Boss) 53kg (13)
8. MACKINTOSH (Chris Waller-Tommy Berry) 52kg (2)
9. MCCREERY (Chris Waller-Kerrin McEvoy) 51.5kg (4)
10. HEAVENS ABOVE (Tim Martin-Corey Brown) 51kg (8)
11. VANBRUGH (Chris Waller-Craig Newitt) 51kg (7)
12. TORGERSEN (Chris Waller-Kathy O'Hara) 50kg (5)
13. FABRIZIO (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-Johan Victoire) 50kg (6)