Sydney trainer Anthony Cummings has confirmed his four-year-old galloper Fontelina is vying for a 2013 Stradbroke Handicap call-up joining stablemate and current favourite for Queensland’s richest race Your Song when they run at Scone this Saturday.
Testa Rossa gelding Fontelina has been accepted for the $140,000 Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) during the Scone Cup Carnival this weekend, their performance in which will determine whether they press onto the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival along with stablemate Your Song.
Talented Fastnet Rock colt Your Song hit the headlines on May 11 when resuming off a length seven month spell to score an emphatic upset in the mud at Eagle Farm winning the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) by an easy five lengths over Rain Affair.
That performance, their third win from seven starts and first at Group level, saw them soar to the top of the markets for the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 8 with Your Song the clear $4 favourite.
Much further down the Stradbroke Handicap odds is Cummings’ long shot hope Fontelina paying $41.
A Group 2 winner in the Yellowglen Stakes at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last year, Fontelina has had four runs during the autumn but has failed to finish better than fifth.
That fifth was a good effort however when they finished less than one and a half lengths off the winner Pierro in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on a Slow (7) Rosehill course in early April.
A wet track didn’t help their cause next start however with Fontelina last seen running a disappointing 13th beaten seven lengths by Sacred Falls in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 20 which was run on a Heavy (10).
“The 1600 metres is probably at the outer end of the distance range for him and on the heavy track it really told,” Cummings said.
“He hit the front at the top of the straight but couldn’t sustain it, but that was no disgrace.
Cummings is hoping they can bounce back this weekend in the Luskin Star Stakes, Fontelina a $6 fancy in markets narrowly led by the Chris Waller-trained Riva De Lago ($4.40) who was last seen running a close second to Havana Rey in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) back in March.
“I put him out on the water walker after that (Doncaster Mile run) and he goes into this in good shape,” Cummings said.
The horse was also accepted for the $125,000 Group 3 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) on Doomben Cup Day this Saturday, drawing barrier 14 which is also the gate they have come up with at Scone.
They have now been scratched from the Brisbane Group 3 however with Cummings opting to keep them in New South Wales until they prove themselves worthy of the trip north.
“He runs at Scone rather Brisbane. He drew badly in both but it’s a cheaper bus fare,” Cummings said.
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