While admittedly Lloyd Williams has no serious Group 1 autumn plans this coming carnival season, there is a chance one of the stable stars at Macedon Lodge Fawkner could target elite level glory in the William Reid Stakes 2015 in March.
The spring and the lure of the Melbourne Cup in particular has always been the focus for goliath owner Williams but he does have a few tentative Group 1 plans in mind for some of the team’s best performers.
Fawkner is one who could be bought in for a cameo autumn carnival appearance in Melbourne, the veteran Reset seven-year-old a chance to vie for a third Group 1 title in the $400,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 21.
The gelding broke his Group 1 duck in October of 2013 with an impressive win over Dandino in that year’s $2.65 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) before finishing sixth to Fiorente in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).
His autumn last year was restricted to the one run, also the William Reid Stakes, but he could only manage to finish two lengths away seventh to the Tony Gollan-trained Queensland winner Spirit Of Boom.
Fawkner made good ground late in last year’s William Reid but, as expected, he didn’t have the pace over the unsuitable sprint distance with the run more to just keep him ticking over ahead of the spring.
His latest campaign then was improved and included a first-up second when nosed out of victory by Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), a win over Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and a close second behind European raider Adelaide in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Williams and trainer Robert Hickmott then tested him over the two miles of the ‘race that stops a nation’ again but once more Fawkner didn’t run a strong 3200m when 10th behind this year’s then German-trained Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist.
Fawkner is back in work and gearing up for his possible third straight William Reid Stakes appearance, having also run a brave third behind super mare Black Caviar in the 2013 edition.
The stayer also looks a genuine type for the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick in April, but Williams said he would not be lured by the prize money of that race.
Like the rest of Williams’ stayers, Fawkner is likely to have just the one run around the Easter period before turning out to prepare for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival later in the year as his European import Amralah.
The Teofilo stallion debuted down under in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) last Victoria Derby Day but failed to impress after giving up his lovely spot early to drop right out and run dead last when 16 lengths away 14th behind Happy Trails.
“I don’t come out much to play in the autumn,” Williams told TVN on Monday.
“I’ve brought them back into work to give them a bit of conditioning. I might run them, I might not. I’m spring bent.
“There is nothing of our horses planned for any serious Group 1 attacks.”
A chance to have multiple autumn runs for the stable meanwhile is Divan who is also back in work.
One of the early top fancies for the Caulfield Guineas last year, the Zabeel colt has had three runs for one win at Sandown over 1400m but was sent to the paddock in mid-September after a failed run at Flemington that he didn’t recover well from.
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