On Saturday the Fred Cowell-trained Mighty Lucky scored an upset Festival Stakes 2015 result beating home a field full of better fancied galloper’s in the feature Sydney race.
A big field of 14 lined up in this year’s edition of the $150,000 Listed Sky Thoroughbred Central Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens including Cowell’s Casino Prince six-year-old Mighty Lucky.
Last seen running third in the November Handicap over 1350m at the track a fortnight ago in the wet, the gelding jumped at $21 odds to win the stakes feature with regular rider Nathan Thomas aboard the Gosford-based galloper.
Enjoying the drop back from 55.5kg to the 54kg minimum on the weekend, Mighty Lucky enjoyed his second win at the track and distance beating home the John O’Shea-trained It’s Somewhat ($5.50) home by a neck after lunging late in the handicap clash.
In a blanket finish the Gerald Ryan-trained Bernardini mare Peace Force ($9.50) finished off the Festival Stakes trifecta.
Race favourite was the Gai Waterhouse-trained Frespanol ($3.80) who could only manage to cross three and a half lengths back for seventh in the traditional lead-up race into Royal Randwick’s $250,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 12.
Festival Stakes winning trainer Cowell confirmed plans to take Mighty Lucky to the 2015 Villiers Stakes in a fortnight where the horse will face off against fellow Saturday Sydney winner Telepathic who took out the Listed ATC Cup (2000m).
Cowell only has around six horses in work and said the Festival Stakes had been the race he had in mind for Mighty Lucky since bringing the horse back from his winter spell.
“When he went for a spell this was the race we set him for,” Cowell told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Anyone who saw his last run on the wet track would have had to have been on him in that because he is just a dry-track horse.
“I came here really happy and he is not out of place against these. It is going to be a pretty similar field in the Villiers, so why not.”
Thomas has been aboard Mighty Lucky for 33 of his 35 career starts and said to Cowell post-win on Saturday the Villiers Stakes was the best next-up option.
“What do we do now?” he said.
“The Villiers, I guess, for a Christmas bonus.
“That’s what he can do.
“I was very confident coming to the turn that he was going to win and he did. He’s never going to win by a big margin, but he was always going to get there. Thanks for sticking with me.”
Also Villiers Stakes-bound after a good run in the Festival Stakes is Godolphin’s highly spruiked import It’s Somewhat who is yet to win over further than 1430m in his 18 starts.
“I thought it was a good blow-out for the Villiers and he will be much better over the longer trip at Randwick,” O’Shea said.
“He and Malice will give us a couple of good chances in the Villiers.”
Teofilo five-year-old Malice didn’t run on the weekend and was last seen crossing fifth to Casino Dancer in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on November 14.
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2015 Festival Stakes Results
Rosehill Race 8 – 28/11/2015
|1||12||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Nathan Thomas||–||6||54kg||$21|
|2||2||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0.2L||4||59kg||$5.50|
|3||10||PEACE FORCE||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||0.3L||13||54.5kg||$9.50|
|4||11||ZANBAGH||John P Thompson||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1.1L||2||54kg||$16|
|5||4||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||1.8L||5||58kg||$15|
|6||3||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Christian Reith||3.1L||1||59kg||$9|
|7||9||FRESPANOL||Gai Waterhouse||Thomas Huet||3.6L||7||56.5kg||$3.80F|
|8||1||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||4.1L||8||59.5kg||$21|
|9||7||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||4.6L||9||57kg||$16|
|10||6||CENTRE PIVOT||John Sargent||Glyn Schofield||4.8L||11||57kg||$11|
|11||8||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||5.4L||10||57kg||$31|
|12||5||TINTO||Rex Lipp||Tim Clark||5.9L||14||57.5kg||$15|
|13||14||KEEPIT TO YOURSELF (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||Regan Bayliss (a)||6.7L||3||54kg||$91|
|14||15||NEVAGOTAVOTE||Jason Deamer||Ms Samantha Clenton (a)||12.7L||12||54kg||$17|
|–||13||SLATE ON EDGE||Brett Thompson||Mathew Cahill||–||0||–||–|