GOING FOR GOLD
The 2017 Gold Cup winner is back to go back to back at Benalla
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.