Lightly-raced gelding Fontelina will be given the chance to claim Group 1 honours at the 2013 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival when he contests the prestigious 2013 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9.
While the four-year-old has always shown ability, he emerged as a serious sprinter during the spring when he scored the biggest win of his career in the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes.
The win gave trainer Anthony Cummings the confidence to throw Fontelina into the deep end in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic but he finished unplaced in the weight-for-age sprint.
With a lightweight in the Newmarket he is far more likely to be a contender as he attempts to add to his solid early career resume of four wins from 12 starts.
The son of Testa Rossa has already shown a liking for the Flemington straight with the Yellowglen win so should be right at home in the nation’s biggest handicap sprint.
Fontelina had only a brief break following the spring and Cummings said he will resume fast work this week.
He will have a barrier trial before the Newmarket but is likely to go into the $1 million event without a lead-up race.
The emerging sprinter joins the long list of gallopers who will be aimed at the Newmarket.
Peter Moody-trained Group 1 winner Moment Of Change is set to return from injury in the race while Perth star Luckygray is another likely to line up.
Also heading towards the Newmarket is Adamantium who announced himself as a possible contender for the lucrative sprint when scoring a dominant win in the Group 3 Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
Trainer Danny O’Brien said after the win that he has finally worked out the gelding is most suited to 1200 metres down the Flemington straight.
“I think we’ve worked out that he’s really a six furlong and obviously a very effectively straight horse,” O’Brien said.
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