In a shock result at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, Dan O’Sullivan’s veteran stayer Tuscan Fire scored a first-up win as a $101 roughie ahead of a possible shot at the Caulfield Cup 2013 this October.
The Tuscanos seven-year-old hadn’t been seen racing since their dead last finish in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) in March when they failed to defeat any of their 19 rivals beaten 54 lengths by Norsqui.
Resuming on the weekend they went out in the $100,000 Lesley Viney & Colin McKnight Handicap (1410m) as a triple figure outsider due as they had never won over less than 1850m previously.
Proving anything is possible however Tuscan Fire relished going from 58kg (allocated) to 55kg (carried) thanks to the services of apprentice hoop Patrick Moloney.
They also advantaged from the Slow track conditions on the day and were able to beat home the John Sadler-trained favourite Henwood ($2.30), ridden by Boss, by a nose with Danny O’Brien’s Lady’s Angel ($8) the same distance away again in third.
It was a barnstorming finish from the former hurdler who came from second last with 300m left to travel to romp down the outside and come away with the bikkies in a three-way photo finish.
A proven long distance galloper, Tuscan Fire’s failed Adelaide Cup run was their only bad run in the past 12 months and O’Sullivan was thrilled to have his old horse back.
“Today’s just a real bonus, he failed at his last start in the Adelaide Cup before a break and it’s just great to have him back racing,” O’Sullivan told Racing Victoria on Saturday.
“It’s great for Patrick, he rode him really well. I actually worked for Jim Moloney for five years and now his grandson is riding a winner for me, it’s all a part of making today a really big thrill.”
Their earlier efforts included back-to-back Flemington wins in January over 2000m and 2500m with Boss in the saddle.
They also qualified for this year’s $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), held on October 19, with their smart three length victory over Durnford in February’s Listed Mornington Cup (2400m).
Ballarat-based O’Sullivan admits they are very much looking at the Caulfield Cup for Tuscan Fire this spring hoping they can continue with the good form in some traditional lead-up races.
“Today’s winnings will go straight into the bank to pay for his nominations into other races right throughout this preparation; he’s got a lot of options now,” he said on Saturday.
Possible runs as they head toward the Cup include the $150,000 Group 3 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 21, and the $220,000 Group 2 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) back at the track on Caulfield Guineas Day, October 12.
In the latest Caulfield Cup betting markets Tuscan Fire is rated a $51 chance with the odds led by Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup runner-up from last spring Fiorente ($10).
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