Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
The spring’s Herbert Power Stakes winner Lord Fandango races second-up at Caulfield on Saturday before a Group 1 test in next month’s 2018 Australian Cup.
The Archie Alexander-trained Lord Of England entire was an eye-catcher last campaign, including his good win in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
Lord Fandango went on to finish under two lengths back fourth behind upset winner Boom Time at the same track just seven days later in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) before being sent out to the paddock.
The five-year-old returned to racing on February 10, again running at his pet Caulfield track, when three lengths back for third behind the Darren Weir-trained French import and Group 1 Caulfield Stakes winner Gailo Chop in the Group 3 TS Carlyon Cup (1600m).
Ballarat-based Alexander has another test against the fellow OTI Racing-owned Gailo Chop scheduled second-up on Saturday’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day card for his former European-trained stayer.
Lord Fandango runs in the Group 2 $200,000 Peter Young Stakes (1800m), a race won last year by the Weir-trained Stratum Star who went on to place fourth behind Humidor in the Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Super Saturday.
“He had a really good first-up run. He’s tightened up and improved. He’ll need to improve,” Alexander told Racing Victoria.
“Obviously a lot of those horses are doing a similar prep to us, creeping our way through the distances.
“I think we’re meeting Gailo Chop again, and we’ll probably meet him again in the Australian Cup, so we need to hope we can improve more than he does.”
The Peter Young Stakes is the traditional Australian Cup lead-up race with the latter Group 1 event scheduled this Melbourne Festival of Racing on March 10.
That’s the path Alexander plans to take with Lord Fandango who vies for the Peter Young Stakes – Australian Cup double most recently completed by Fiorente (2014).
All-in Australian Cup betting is currently led by Gailo Chop ($4.50), while Lord Fandango is also being kept safe in futures markets at a quote of $10.
Looking further ahead for the autumn, Alexander also plans to head to Sydney for a shot at the lucrative Group 1 $1.5 million H.E. Tancred Stakes (2400m) – formerly The BMW – on March 31 at Rosehill Gardens.
“You could see the last 50m [last start] he was starting to stay on, so he’s going to be a bit better over 18 [hundred metres] then a bit better over 2000m, and we’ve got further distances to come – the BMW [Tancred Stakes] over 2400m, so provided he keeps running well, he’ll keep stepping up,” Alexander said.
To back Lord Fandango next race this weekend and to access the best autumn Group 1 racing odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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