With all the pre-race hype on this Saturday’s 2013 Newmarket Handicap being on the 11 Group 1 nominated winners Anthony Cummings’ progressive gelding Fontelina has flown under the radar.
The four-year-old Testa Rossa gelding has won four of their 12 career starts to date most recently the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) first-up at Flemington in an upset over Spirit Of Boom and Tiger Tees on Victoria Derby Day last November.
That victory earned them a shot at the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) seven days later but Fontelina could only manage to finish 10 lengths away 13th to Mental in the Emirates Stakes Day classic.
They race for the first time since this weekend when they make their new season debut against a crack field of fellow sprinters in the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse.
There are currently 24 nominations for the Newmarket including 11 former elite level winners such as exciting Perth duo Luckygray and the undefeated Barakey.
Also set to run in the Newmarket are the likes of international performing mare Ortensia, Rob Heathcote’s Brisbane galloper Woorim and the Peter Moody-trained favourite Moment Of Change coming off a second to star stablemate Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes.
Fontelina meanwhile is one of the lower-key sprinters in the Newmarket picture this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, Cummings hoping they can continue their good fresh record with a competitive run in the feature.
Cummings is happy with Fontelina’s work since the spring, their last piece of major work being a good second down the Flemington straight over 800m on Tuesday morning behind Luckygray.
“He had a jump-out two weeks ago at Randwick and went to the line with a pretty good sprinter from Gosford [Hay List],” Cummings said.
“He went to the line with that horse so I’m pretty pleased with him.”
While happy with their progress Cummings is also aware of just how tough a challenge the Newmarket will be.
“Look, he has to improve on what he did in the spring to be competitive in a race like this, but I think he has,” he said, Fontenila to carry just 52.5kg with Glen Boss retaining the ride.
If all goes to plan Fontelina will continue onto the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival targeting the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20 where Cummings thinks they will be getting up to their best distance.
“I’m looking at the Doncaster for him later this preparation and a few other good races are in the mix in Sydney, so we’ll see how he goes on Saturday,” he said.
In the latest Doncaster Mile Handicap odds Fontelina is a triple figure roughie in markets led by Gai Waterhouse’s crack colt Pierro who was back in the winners’ stall last Saturday narrowly taking out the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) in the wet.
Whether you’re sticking with one of the early Newmarket Handicap betting favourites this year or backing an upset from Fontelina or another double-figured chance, make sure you get them at the best price online with bookmaker.com.au.
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