The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The international Godolphin operation continued their dominance in the Victorian cup races this spring with the Charlie Appleby-trained Francis Of Assisi enjoying a stylish 2016 Bendigo Cup win on Wednesday.
A week ago the team ran first and third in the Geelong Cup trifecta with Qewy and Oceanographer respectively, the winner heading towards a run in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 1.
Winning Geelong Cup jockey Kerrin McEvoy was aboard another top Appleby stayer in the $300,000 Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) and got the job done again on Danehill Dancer seven-year-old Francis Of Assisi.
The gelding hadn’t raced since being beaten 6.5 lengths in the Summer Stakes (2816m) at Goodwood in the UK back in late July.
Francis Of Assisi ($6.50) showed up in Melbourne fresh and full of running first-up and stormed clear for an empathic three length win in the Bendigo Cup over Second Bullet ($6.50) with the beaten favourite Our Century ($2.30) doing his best work late for third.
“He’s obviously travelled out here nicely,” McEvoy said post-win.
“He came here nice and fresh…nice and bright within himself.”
McEvoy got the eventual Bendigo Cup winning raider into a lovely rhythm up in second up on the moderate pace set by the front runner Go Dreaming.
The locally-trained Desert Samurai settled into third, while the Danny O’Brien-trained Second Bullet coming off a last (12th) behind Hartnell in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) got the run of the race in fourth.
Jockey Katelyn Mallyon meanwhile had the Team Williams-owned top fancy Our Century settled right at the back of the field with all the ground to make up.
Approaching the home turn McEvoy started his move on Francis Of Assisi and began to pour the pressure on Go Dreaming before hitting the lead at the top of the straight.
McEvoy went forward and extended the galloper in a great ride, pushing the button 500m from home and the horse responding to race away quickly and keep that speed up all the way to the line.
Francis Of Assisi just kept finding and put his rivals way after the lovely run on speed throughout, eventually finishing three lengths clear of Second Bullet.
In just his third run down under off a length two and a half year break, the Robert Hickmott-trained Our Century couldn’t muster the early speed, but finished off strongly in defeat to round out the Bendigo Cup trifecta a further long neck away third.
“The horse got into a nice rhythm and stepped it up from halfway,” McEvoy said of his winning mount.
“I was expecting the Lloyd [Williams] horse [Our Century] to be coming up quickly…I was quite surprised to see how much I was in front.
“He just built it up from halfway and I put the pedal to the metal from about the 600 [metres] on.
“Just a very genuine galloper.”
McEvoy added that there wasn’t much between Francis Of Assisi and the Geelong Cup winner Qewy, but that the 2016 Melbourne Cup bound latter was probably just in front.
“I’d probably have Qewy just in front of this fella, but there’s not a huge amount between them,” the 2000 Melbourne Cup winning jockey aboard Brew said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how these horses run in their respective races in the coming weeks.”
Appleby’s travelling foreman James Ferguson was thrilled with the Bendigo Cup result and said the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival options for the winner were wide open.
“There’s quite a few options,” he said.
“There’s a restricted handicap on the Saturday [November 5 at Flemington] and then there’s the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“He’s also in the Sandown Cup, so we have plenty of options.”
Run on Emirates Stakes Day, the $300,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) is a genuine staying showdown on the last meeting of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The $150,000 Listed Ladbrokes Sandown Cup (3200m) runs over the two miles at Ladbrokes Park Hillside the following Saturday, November 12.
To back Francis Of Assisi next race and check the latest Melbourne Cup odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
2016 Bendigo Cup Results & Finishing Order
Bendigo Race 8 – 26/10/2016
|1||6||FRANCIS OF ASSISI (IRE)||Charlie Appleby||Kerrin McEvoy||–||6||55kg||$6.50|
|2||9||SECOND BULLET||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||3L||7||55kg||$6.50|
|3||8||OUR CENTURY (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||3.4L||4||55kg||$2.30F|
|4||2||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys||Luke Nolen||6.9L||9||56kg||$11|
|5||1||HOWARD BE THY NAME||Darren Weir||John Allen||7.1L||3||58kg||$5.50|
|6||4||DESERT SAMURAI||Adam O’Neill||Cory Parish||9.1L||5||55kg||$61|
|7||7||GO DREAMING||Grant Kluske||Justin Potter||9.2L||8||55kg||$21|
|8||3||BLIZZARD (NZ)||Emma-Lee & David Browne||Craig Williams||12.95L||2||55kg||$41|
|9||5||FERRO NERO (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Michael Walker||13.25L||1||55kg||$17|
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