Rogue me­mories re­vived in Fox win

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - GRAHAM SNOWDEN

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

12-14 runs.

“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.

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