It is likely straight into Group 1 company this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival for Anthony Cummings’ consistent elite level performer Fontelina who heads towards the Canterbury Stakes 2015 next month.
The Testa Rossa gelding is back in work and trialling well ahead of his return, the six-year-old on track for a first-up run in the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on Randwick Guineas Day, March 7.
Cummings named the Canterbury Stakes as his preferred first-up option for six-time winner Fontelina when speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Racing HQ program on Thursday morning saying it was an appealing option.
“I’m leaning towards running him first-up in the Canterbury Stakes,” Cummings confirmed.
“It seems a good race for him with his best form being over 1200 and 1400 metres.
“It appeals as a good option.”
Last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival Fontelina failed first-up when blundering the start in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), weakening badly before beating home just one other runner when 13th to Lankan Rupee, beaten over 12 lengths.
He improved less than two weeks later under the lights at Moonee Valley however when driving forward to settle in fourth before getting caught up, checked twice and still flashing home to run a nose away second to Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m).
Dual winner of the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in the 2013 and 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnivals, his other best Group 1 performance was a second to Rebel Dane in the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield.
At his latest trial this month he ran fourth to Atmospherical over 838m at Randwick back on the second, Cummings pleased with how he’s coming on ahead of the Canterbury Stakes.
“He’s coming along really well,” Cummings said.
“He’ll be ready at the end of the month to race.”
Cummings also confirmed autumn plans for his Not A Single Doubt mare Villa Verde to target the same two races she performed well in last season starting with a title defense in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 7.
From there she’ll be out to improve on a close third to Tiger Tees last year in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill a fortnight later.
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