It was an early win for the punters in the first at Royal Randwick for Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, the James Cummings-trained youngster Prized Icon saluting as the favourite in the Fernhill Handicap 2016.
Winning trainer Cummings said the nicely-bred son of More Than Ready had always had “1400 (metres) to a mile written all over him”, and that proved true in the $150,000 Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) on Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day.
Fifth-up the colt broke through for his maiden win coming off two good runs from March when third in Canberra’s Group 3 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) to Defcon land second last start in the Group 3 Baillieu Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill.
Prized Icon had the autumn’s in-form hoop Hugh Bowman in the saddle for the Fernhill, and raced up into second early behind best out of the barriers Crown Him prepared by Cummings’ uncle Anthony.
Moving up quickly along the fence where no-one else seemed to want to go was the Lee Curtis-trained Beneteau filly Lasqueti Spirit who worked up to take the lead from Prized Icon with Crown Him put back into third after settling.
Reinforced, labelled Team Snowden’s ‘best of the day’, meanwhile was ridden quietly right at the back of the field failing to let down on the Soft track.
Around the turn Hutcho, who was caught four-wide early, was slapped along by hoop Dwayne Dunn trying to keep up with the leaders on the bend.
On the straight the $2.90 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au came through to go into the lead holding off the challengers to win by over a length in a time of 1:37.74, Casino Prince gelding Crown Him ($3.90) in second from the third-placed pacesetter Lasqueti Spirit ($41).
It was a good tough win from the top fancy who chased down the leader, held off his rivals late and took out the prize in fine style.
“He’s a horse we’ve always had a nice opinion of, without thinking he’s top class,” winning hoop Bowman said of Prized Icon post-win.
“He’s still learning and while he’s there physically, mentally he’s not.
“I had my own way up the front (today) and he’s been targeted at this race so it’s a good training performance.”
Cummings described the win as “satisfying” and was looking forward to a big future for the up-and-comer.
“He does have a big future,” he said.
“It’s been very satisfying working with this colt.
“He had 1400 – a mile written all over him from day one.
“I don’t quite know how far this horse will go next season, but it’s very satisfying to win a great one for the stable to show what we can do with a two-year-old.”
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2016 Fernhill Handicap Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 1 – 09/04/2016
|1||1||PRIZED ICON||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||–||7||58kg||$2.80F|
|2||4||CROWN HIM||Anthony Cummings||Jason Collett||2L||4||55kg||$4.20|
|3||7||LASQUETI SPIRIT||Lee Curtis||Ms Winona Costin (a)||2.2L||1||54kg||$41|
|4||6||BRING ME THE BLING||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||2.4L||2||54kg||$21|
|5||2||REINFORCED||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||2.8L||3||55.5kg||$3.20|
|6||8||GRAVITATE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||15.5L||5||54kg||$12|
|7||3||HUTCHO||Gary Portelli||Dwayne Dunn||26.6L||6||55kg||$18|
|–||5||OBSCURA||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||0||–||–|