Having included the talented five-year-old in early nominations for this weekend’s major Group 1 at Rosehill Gardens, trainer Anthony Cummings has confirmed Fontelina is almost a certainty to back up an unlucky second in last weekend’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on Saturday.
Reported to have returned to his Caulfield stables in near-perfect shape, Cummings told TVN that while not 100% assured, Fontelina’s current condition will almost make it impossible to leave him out of another tilt at the highest level of Australian racing this weekend.
“There is potential for it certainly. I haven’t sat down yet and had a look at the fields” Cummings said on Monday afternoon.
“But he makes it possible by the way he has come out of the race. Bouncing.”
Having settled well within the pack after jumping only fairly, Fontelina produced an incredible turn of foot in the final straight of the William Reid Stakes, appearing to have secured a maiden Group 1 title before a photo revealed classy sprinter Spirit Of Boom had nodded at the precise right moment.
While disappointed by the final result on that occasion, Cummings said no one was to blame and it was not meant to be at Moonee Valley last Friday.
“It was no one’s fault, it just did not happen” Cummings added.
Having amassed six wins and four places from only 24 race starts to date, Fontelina produced a particularly impressive and consistent 2013 spring preparation; following up an unlucky second to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) with a strong victory in the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) most notably.
Finishing fourth behind Buffering in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) to end the memorable campaign, Cummings said stepping up to the George Ryder’s 1500 metre racing distance should prove an easier task than that spirited run on November 9th.
A final field for the 2014 George Ryder Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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