The 2017 Gold Cup win­ner is back to go back to back at Be­nalla

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

LORD Fan­dango is back and rar­ing to de­fend his 2017 bet365 Be­nalla Gold Cup crown af­ter a slash­ing win set up a pur­ple patch for the six-year-old stal­lion.

Trainer Archie Alexan­der took him straight town for a run in the $400,000 Her­bert Power Stakes, which it won by a length from Wall of Fire with Gal­lic Chief­tain a fur­ther 1.4 lengths adrift.

On a roll the win gave the stal­lion a start in the $5 mil­lion Caulfield Cup, where it fin­ished a very cred­itable fourth be­hind Boom Time.

Alexan­der said his star stal­lion has had some is­sues with stran­gles but is back in tip-top shape and ready for the $125,000 race over 2046m.

“The will be his first start this prep, although he has had a jump out, and I reckon he is a much fit­ter horse than he was at this time last year so I think he will be there­abouts,” Alexan­der said. “He comes back to Be­nalla as a Group 2 win­ner, his plac­ing in the Caulfield Cup and Jor­dan Childs, who does such a great job with him, will be back in the sad­dle,” he said.

“Last year he al­ready had a race un­der his belt be­fore Be­nalla but that won’t be the case this year but he is fit and well if not as for­ward.”

Alexan­der will also start Mirette in a maiden.

This promis­ing three-year-old filly has been placed in three of its four starts – the last two were both sec­onds in town – the first be­hind Vas­si­la­tor at Flemington on May 19 and then Che­va­lier D’eon at Sandown on Au­gust 15.

“She’s a very nice filly and will be step­ping down in class to race at Be­nalla on Fri­day and I am ex­pect­ing her to go very well,” Alexan­der said.

“This will be her sec­ond start this prep af­ter a trial at Cran­bourne, where she fin­ished third out of 10 over 800m on a soft track,” he said.

While Alexan­der is go­ing for broke at the Cup, Ger­ald Egan is plan­ning some­thing of a quiet day with just two likely starters.

He said the sta­ble didn’t have a horse at the right stage of its prepa­ra­tion to tackle the cup but he has en­tered A Good Move, a four-yearold geld­ing hav­ing its first start.

“He is a big, green horse and it will be a good ex­pe­ri­ence for him to go around the track at Be­nalla in race con­di­tions,” Egan ex­plained.

“I will also be get­ting Twi­light Ma­neu­ver a start in a BM64 over 1200m,” he said.

“He is a con­sis­tent per­former and been do­ing re­ally well this prep so has cer­tainly earned a crack at an event on cup day.”

The five year-old geld­ing, which has had 24 ca­reer starts, has fin­ished third at its past two starts, both at Wan­garatta, af­ter a win over 1200m in a BM58 at Swan Hill on Au­gust 20.

The horse will be rid­den by gun ap­pren­tice Lachie King, who steered him to vic­tory at Swan Hill.

“We will have a pass­ing in­ter­est in the cup but oth­er­wise it will be a quiet day at the races and we are look­ing for­ward to it,” Egan added.

The first of the nine races will be the $26,000 Su­per Vo­bis Three-Years-Old Maiden Plate over 1406m.

FLASH­BACK: Lord Fan­dango rid­den by Jor­dan Childs storms to vic­tory in the 2017 bet365 Be­nalla Gold Cup and will be back at the track on Fri­day to try and make it two in a row.

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