Rising 10 year old stayer Fiumicino boosted their career earnings to over $3 million on the weekend when the evergreen veteran enjoyed a commanding victory in Sydney’s 2012 Frank Underwood Cup, registered this year as the $100,000 Listed ATC Cup(2200m).
The Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained Zabeel gelding Fiumicino jumped as a $6.50 chance in the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival feature having run a credible third to early 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune in the Bendigo Cup last time out.
On Saturday however it was all about the grand old Nick Moraitis-owned galloper as they carted the 59kg topweight, Nash Rawiller in the saddle, to a smart all-the-way three quarter length victory over Bradbury’s Luck five-year-old King Utah ($16) in the Warwick Farm classic.
Race favourite Moriarty ($2.70) was then far from disgraced finishing off the winning ATC Cup trifecta a further quarter length away in third.
Fiumicino has now won six of their 39 career starts with the bulk of their multi-million dollar earnings stemming from their two early Group 1 victories in 2009 The BMW and the 2007 AJC Derby for which he was ridden by Darren Beadman.
The Frank Underwood win meanwhile broke a lengthy three and a half year losing streak with their The BMW triumph also their last time in the winners stall until the weekend.
Michael Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his brother Wayne and his great Hall of Fame father John, said their recent good form had again starved off retirement plans with Fiumicino to continue racing as long as they show the zest for the sport.
“He breaks the three-million barrier and full credit to the horse. He’s been a grand horse for us,” Hawkes said of the team’s first ATC Cup winner.
“He’s won a Derby and a BMW and he’s a nine-year-old but he’s still got that killer instinct and a bit of the fighting tiger.
“As long as he’s still got it we’ll keep racing him.
“We have tried to retire him at least twice.
“But he hasn’t had a lot of racing and, although he is probably not the horse he was, he is not racing at that elite level either.”
Plans are now to continue on the summer series campaign and target the $100,000 Listed Christmas Cup and the always popular $125,000 Group 3 Summer Cup – both set to run over the 2400m at Rosehill Gardens on December 15 and 26th respectively.
“I know he hasn’t won for a few years but that will give him a lot of confidence,” Hawkes said.
“He was the first Group One winner for us as a team, as a training partnership, and he’s still there.
“He’s won his race and hopefully we can win one of the summer cups with him.
“I think Dad and Nick Moraitis will be smiling.
“He’s going really well at the moment so we will set him for the Christmas Cup and Summer Cup.
“He will be even better when he gets to 2400m.”
Rawiller, who hadn’t ridden for Team Hawkes for over three years, was also impressed with Fiumicino and their dogged performance.
“It’s good to get a ride for them again and I’ve got to say they turned Fiumicino out in great order,” Rawiller said.
“The horse felt terrific underneath me and early in the race I was thinking whether to let Scouting Wide slide past us.
“I decided to hold on to the lead and Fiumicino got into a nice rhythm. From the 600m, I started to pour the pressure on and even though they got to within about a neck of us on the turn, I knew he would be strong to the line.
“He’s such a good, tough stayer and he really dug deep. He just wanted to win.”
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2012 ATC Frank Underwood Cup Results & Finishing Order
Warwick Farm – 01/12/2012
|1||1||FIUMICINO (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Nash Rawiller||–||8||59kg||$6.50|
|2||7||KING UTAH||Wayne Wilkes||Anthony Allen (a)||0.8L||7||54kg||$16|
|3||2||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||1.2L||4||57kg||$2.70F|
|4||5||WARD (NZ)||Lee Freedman & Graeme Rogerson||James McDonald||2.5L||2||54kg||$5.50|
|5||8||WATERTIGHT||Robert Price||Ms Kathy O’Hara||3.7L||5||54kg||$26|
|6||4||FROMELLES (NZ)||John Sargent||Blake Shinn||4.4L||6||54kg||$6|
|7||6||DREAMWORKER||David Pfieffer||Glyn Schofield||5.4L||3||54kg||$8.50|
|8||3||SCOUTING WIDE (NZ)||Tim Martin||Christian Reith||15.9L||1||57kg||$14|