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Victoria’s Archie Alexander has shelved a Mornington Cup run on Sunday with last year’s Herbert Power Stakes winner Lord Fandango who instead heads towards the 2018 Sydney Cup via a NE Manion Cup run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
German-bred European expat Lord Fandango has a grand final autumn aim scheduled for Royal Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ in the Group 1 $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles on April 14.
It has now been confirmed he will have his final lead-up into the staying classic via a Rosehill run on Golden Slipper Day in this Saturday’s Group 3 $150,000 NE Manion Cup (2400m).
The NE Manion Cup field is down to 13 starters and Lord Fandango is listed as a $4.40 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au after coming into barrier one with the early scratching of Foundry (1).
Originally the Ballarat-trained Lord Of England entire was also accepted for a Victorian run in Saturday’s Listed $300,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup (2400m) where he was to have carried the 60kg top weight.
Instead Lord Fandango heads north to Sydney for the first time, all 10 of his previous runs down under having been in Victoria, and will carry 57.5kg in the NE Manion Cup with Jordan Childs booked for the ride.
“I think [the N.E. Manion Cup] is the right race for him, it’s a nice lead-up for the Sydney Cup, it’s going the Sydney way and getting him used to Soft or Heavy tracks,” Alexander told Racing Victoria on Thursday.
Rosehill is predicted to get into the Heavy range by Saturday and Alexander admits that is their only concern with Lord Fandango who is yet to win on anything worse than Good.
“That is our worry, we don’t think he’s a proper Heavy tracker,” the horseman said.
“I think he’s had two or three runs and he’s trialled on Soft and every time we haven’t seen much from him.
“But horses can prove you wrong, and maybe it dries up on the day and it is only race three on the card.
“[Rosehill] is a big, galloping track which will suit the horse, the field looks like he’ll be very competitive in it, and Jordan Childs, who knows the horse really well, will be up there.”
Childs has ridden the galloper for his last three runs this campaign, the latest of which saw the horse beaten just over two lengths as a $41 roughie behind Harlem in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
He is down in grade and up in distance then for his Rosehill run this weekend, Lord Fandango suited to the distance boasting three wins and a second from his seven previous 2400m runs.
Last spring he won the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) before finishing under two lengths back second to Boom Time in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Lord Fandango will be back in Group 1 company following Saturday with the Sydney Cup calling, a race won in 2016 by NE Manion Cup third-placegetter Gallante.
His biggest danger in the NE Manion Cup according to the bookies is the $3.450 favourite Alward from the star Sydney stables of Chris Waller.
The Aqlaam five-year-old comes off a narrow second over 2000m at Randwick from March 10 and is up notably in grade here.
Looking even further ahead to the spring, Alexander said another Caulfield Cup tilt in October and even a shot at the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington were also on the cards for Lord Fandango.
“It was a much-improved run last time [in the Australian Cup], he was beaten 2.2 lengths in a Group 1 and now he’s dropping to a Group 3,” Alexander said.
“This time around his target is the Sydney Cup and next time around [in the spring] it will be the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups all being well.”
To back Lord Fandango this weekend and in the Sydney Cup 2018 at the best Group 1 autumn racing odds online head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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