New Zealand thoroughbred nursery Rich Hill Stud may have another Melbourne Cup prospect on its hands: the daughter of a former winner from the same stable.
Fanatic, sired by 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, won the Grade 2 Adelaide Cup on Monday. That race is held over the same 3200m distance as the Melbourne Cup, and the team behind the mare believe that she has every chance of competing in Australia’s showcase race.
“The Melbourne Cup has always been the long range goal,” said owner and breeder Sean Kiernan. “She is an elite athlete over two miles.”
Smart Moves Propel Fanatic to Lead Late
Fanatic came into the race as the favourite, but it was far from a guaranteed victory. According to trainer Ben Hayes, jockey Michael Walker deserved much of the credit for the successful run.
Walker was able to move up from seventh place to first in the span of only 100 meters, sticking to the fence while other horses attempted to jockey for position on outside lines.
“Amazing ride by Walker,” Hayes told Racing.com. “He was patient and I can’t believe the run opened up. He didn’t go around one horse. It was fantastic.”
That ride ended up getting Fanatic the win by a neck over Ormito. Popiholla finished third, 1.75 lengths behind the leaders.
Next Text in Sydney
The win is the second at the 3200m distance for Fanatic, having previously won the Sandown Cup last spring. Those results have Kiernan and the training team excited about the eventual prospects for their five-year-old, with the Grade 1 Sydney Cup planned as the next step up in competition for Fanatic.
That race, held next month at Randwick, comes with a $2 million purse and a corresponding increase in the strength of the field. But Fanatic’s trainers apparently believe she’s ready for the challenge.
“[The training staff] are really keen to put her into the Sydney Cup while she is in good form,” Kiernan told HorseBetting.com.au. “They said she is a superstar over two miles so we’ll keep going.”
While Fanatic had some success at shorter distances for her original trainers, including a Grade 1 New Zealand Oaks win at 2400m in 2016, Kiernan says it wasn’t until recently that her potential was fully unlocked.
“She was always a nice type, she turned into the horse we always thought she would be physically,” Kiernan said. “Now as a five-year-old she has fully matured.”
While Rich Hill Stud is certainly high on Fanatic’s prospects, there’s still a long way to go before the Melbourne Cup in November, and their horse hasn’t gotten the attention of punters looking ahead to the world’s top 3200m race just yet.
At the moment, Fanatic has yet to appear on the board at any online betting sites that are offering odds on the 2018 Melbourne Cup. The early favourite is Rekindling, the British-bred, Irish-trained colt that won the 2017 edition of the race. Rekindling, listed at 20/1 odds on Betfair, was the youngest horse in 76 years to win the Melbourne Cup, and could certainly return to defend his title this year.