Rogue memories revived in Fox win
IT was far from Group 1 glory like his old mate Vo Rogue provided but there was no containing trainer Jeff Perry’s excitement after Fusi Fox won at the Gold Coast.
Carrying the same brown and white racing colours as turf great Vo Rogue, Fusi Fox ($15) surprised punters with his win in the Band 0-58 Handicap (1800m) on Saturday.
It didn’t catch Perry by surprise but it had him scratching his head to recall his previous Gold Coast winner as an owner or a trainer.
“I think it was Vo Rogue,” said Perry, part-owner of the brilliant frontrunner who twice won at the Gold Coast in the summer of 1986-87 before going on to claim six Group 1 races and capture the hearts of the Australian racing public.
Vo Rogue, the battlers’ horse who became the people’s champion, won 26 races and $3,116,100 in prizemoney.
Perry, 67, only dabbles with training these days and Fusi Fox is his sole horse. He took out a trainer’s licence after Vo Rogue retired to keep an involvement in the game he loves.
It hasn’t been easy.
He has had just four horses make it to the races in the past seven years with Fusi Fox, the winner of three of his 17 starts, the most successful runner in that time.
“You’ve got to like what you are doing and I like it,” Perry said of training horses.
“You can get one and say, ‘I think I can improve that’, or ‘I think I can win a race with it’.”
That’s what he thought when he first saw Fusi Fox.
“I was up at Oakey one day and he was running in a paddock chasing coal trains along the fence line,” he said.
It was enough to convince Perry to buy the horse, which is now raced by his daughter Cymone.
Fusi Fox made his debut as a four-year-old and ran last at the Coast in September 2015.
But a lifetime in racing had told Perry to be patient.
The rewards of that patience came on Saturday when the six-year-old won his third race.
“He’s had about 14 starts now and he’s just learning to know what to do,” Perry said.
“Some horses are quick learners; others take that
“There’s Vo – it took him 13 or 14 runs before he knew what to do yet he most likely won four races in that period.
“We’re still learning with Fusi but hopefully we can get out to 10 furlongs (2000m).”
Fusi Fox, ridden by apprentice Jarrod Woodhouse, hinted at that when he finished strongly over the last 100m on Saturday to win narrowly from Mogul ($5.50) and Stratalena ($8).
There are further Vo Rogue links in the Fusi Fox story. The horse is ridden in trackwork by Daniel Small, the son of jockey Cyril Small who won 22 races on Vo Rogue.
Heavyweight jockey Cyril has also played his part in Fusi Fox’s development.
He won on him at Warwick in May when the horse had to lump 61kg over 1350m.
Perry said Fusi Fox went into that race not knowing what to do but emerged a better horse, thanks to Small.
“I had to give him a 10 out of 10 ride up there,” Perry said.
“It was a beautiful ride. He hasn’t hit him with the whip.
“He got the horse to run straight where before he was running out.”
Weight restricts the number of mounts Small takes these days but Perry is thinking about putting the band back together.
“I most probably will be. In fact, we have been just talking about it,” he said after the win on Saturday.
Perry, Small and those famous racing silks. Ah, the memories.
Fusi Fox, with apprentice Jarrod Woodhouse wearing the racing colours made famous by Vo Rogue, wins over 1800m at the Gold Coast.
Winning trainer Jeff Perry (left) with jockey Jarrod Woodhouse (centre) and trackwork rider Daniel Small and (right) Cyril Small wins on the great Vo Rogue in Melbourne.