Michael Hawkes, one of the brothers in the Hawkes father-and-sons training team, is confident that nine-year-old Fiumicino still has a big run in their old legs when they take on a quality field as the top-weight in the Frank Underwood Cup 2012 at Warwick Farm this weekend.
The veteran Zabeel gelding hasn’t won a race since their upset success as a $30 outsider in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in the wet at Rosehill back in April of 2009 which was their second win at elite level, Fiumicino also having won the 2007 AJC Derby as a three-year-old.
While a three year winning drought is certainly an imposing thing to overcome, Fiumicino’s trainers are hopeful that after an eye-catching effort last time out Saturday could finally be their time to re-enter the winners’ stall.
“He wouldn’t still be in the stable if we didn’t think he was capable of winning a race,” Michael Hawkes said.
“I still think he has got a bit of the fighting tiger in him.
“He has been a marvellous old horse for our team, he is not getting any better with age but he is still good enough to compete at this level.”
Set to jump as the 59kg topweight from the extreme outside barrier (8 of 8) in the $100,000 Listed ATC Frank Underwood Cup (2200m) on Saturday, Fiumicino comes off a third place finish in the Bendigo Cup over the mile and a half on October 31.
They did carry only 55kg in the Bendigo Cup however and were beaten by a big margin, eight lengths separating the winner Puissance De Lune and them, however there was nothing between Fiumicino and runner-up Practiced who finished two-three in a photo finish.
The form surrounding the Bendigo Cup winner is also worth a check-in as the Darren Weir-trained Shamardal grey Puissance De Lune went on to win the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day finding themselves installed as the very early 2013 Melbourne Cup betting favourite.
Hawkes was also impressed with their Randwick run two back in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) when they were beaten by less than half a length hitting the line well to run fourth to Crafty Irna.
“His last run in Sydney before he went to Melbourne was super, he really attacked the line,” he said.
The past two runs from them caught the eyes of the bookies and Fiumicino is now the $4.80 second pick in the Frank Underwood Cup odds behind the Chris Waller-trained European import Moriarty ($2.60) who is after their fourth win from their past six starts.
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