A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
David Hayes’ recent Northern Hemisphere acquisition Fictional Account is gearing up for their debut down under this weekend, the seven-year-old mare hopefully heading down the Melbourne Cup 2012 path.
Formerly prepared in Ireland by Mrs VC Ward, the Stravinsky mare will step out for the first time in over 300 days when they run in Flemington Race 3 on Saturday – the $70,000 Stirling Mortlock Handicap (2000m).
They were last seen running a brave fourth to Times Up in the Listed Rowley Jockey Club Rose Bowl over the two miles at Newmarket on September 22 last year.
Prior to that they were unable to come within 36 lengths of last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2816m) at The Curragh on an unsuitably soft track.
Despite the lengthy break between runs Hayes is confident Fictional Account is ready to make a strong impression racing in Victoria and has the very ambitious spring aim of the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) for her back at Flemington on Tuesday November 6.
Hayes’ Lindsay Park operation has enjoyed three previous Melbourne Cup victories with Northern Hemisphere-bred stayers and hopes are high Fictional Account can add her name to that list along with Belldale Ball (1980), At Talaq (1986) and Jeune (1994).
“We’re hoping she can measure up to be a Cups contender,” Hayes, son of the great Colin Hayes, said.
“She’s got good overseas form and her trackwork suggests she’s well above average.
“She’s not acting like a seven-year-old. She’s a big, strong girl that works quite nicely.”
To date Fictional Account has won six of her 22 starts her latest turf triumph being over Ascot Gold Cup winner Fame And Glory in the Listed Irish Field St Leger Trial Stakes (2816m) last August which was her second stakes success following the Listed Fenwolf Stakes (3218m) at Royal Ascot in September of 2010.
Should she run well on Saturday chances are high Hayes’ will look at the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 leading up to the ‘race that stops a nation’ the following month.
“I think this year’s (Melbourne Cup) race is going to be very hard to get in, so we’ll be giving her the race to learn a bit about her this weekend and then we’ll be targeting the qualifying races,” Hayes said.
The Stirling Mortlock Handicap is set to jump at 12:10pm on Saturday and features a crack field of end of season gallopers including Michael Kent’s rising eight-year-old My Bentley, in-form Warrnambool galloper Streaky Fella, last start Winter Championship Final runner-up Galileo Gold and smart South Australian visitor Sky Raider.
Melbourne Cup 2012 nominations are due to be taken on September 4 with Races.com.au to publish the full list of early entries.
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