tried for the seemingly impossible in the Aus$1million Australian Cup (Aus-I) March 8 at Flemington. He led nearly all the way, but wilted late as Fiorente
proved himself the nation’s best horse.
, who pressed Shamus Award throughout, looked poised for a winning effort at the 200 meter mark while 2013 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner Fiorente was still well back in the field.
Damien Oliver angled out Fiorente for a clear rally into the stretch, and as elite 3-year-old Shamus Award began to fade in the final furlong, he took up the a stirring battle with Green Moon before prevailing by a half-length.
finished third, and Shamus Award checked in sixth.
“He raced a little fresh against the best weight-for-age horse in Australia,” jockey Craig Williams told TVN about Shamus Award, who scored a front-running victory in the Australian Guineas (Aus-I) last week. “He got pressured a little bit, but still did not give the same kick as last week. You can’t knock the horse, he’s still done a great job this preparation.”
Fiorente was timed in 2:03.64 for the 2,000 meters (about 1 14 miles) on good turf. Third behind Shamus Award in the W. S. Cox Plate (Aus-I) in October before rebounding to win the Melbourne Cup in November, the son of Monsun exacted his revenge in the Australian Cup while winning for the sixth time in 17 career starts for Gai Waterhouse, who trains him for a partnership.
He entered the Australian Cup following his nose victory over Mourayan in the Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (Aus-II) Feb. 22 in his first start of 2014. Mourayan was fourth in the Australian Cup.
“It is a great honor to be part of his journey and it is great to see a Melbourne Cup winner come back and be so dominant in the Australian Cup,” Oliver told TVN about Fiorente.
“The pace was moderate for at least the first half and after the half-mile they started to increase it and he moved into the race really nicely.
“I just came to the outside and gave him some clear air and he was really chiming in beautifully at the clock tower and he won with authority.
Fiorente was bred in Ireland by Ballymacoll Stud out of the unraced Pilsudski mare Desert Bloom. His second dam Desert Beauty is a half sister to 2003 champion turf female Islington, winner of that season's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
One race earlier on the card, Lankan Rupee struck for his second top-level win in the Aus$1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (Aus-I).
The son of Redoute's Choice was always handy as the field charged down the Flemington straight but found another gear to draw off to a 2 1/4-length triumph.
With Chad Schofield at the reins for trainer Mick Price, Lankan Rupee covered 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in 1:09.25.
Spirit of Boom was second, well clear of third-place finisher Knoydart.
Lankan Rupee, who is a homebred of Teeley Assets, won the Oakleigh Plate (Aus-I) from Spirit of Boom Feb. 22 at Caulfield in his previous start.
The 4-year-old Australian-bred gelding is out of the Stravinsky mare Estelle Collection.
Also on March 8 in Australia, Boban blew past hot favorite It’s a Dundeel in midstretch and landed the Aus$500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (Aus-I) at Warwick Farm.
The win was the third at the top level for the son of Central Kentucky-based sire Bernardini
. He rebounded from two unplaced finishes in February at Randwick that followed his victory in the Emirates Cantala Stakes (Aus-I) Nov. 9 at Flemington. The Cantala triumph capped a five-race win streak that also included the Epsom Handicap (Aus-I) in October at Randwick. He was back to winning stride in the Chipping Norton.
After stalking the early pace, It’s a Dundeel gained a slim lead in early stretch, but Boban was uncoiled his patented finishing kick from off the pace and reached him at the 200-meter mark. He dug in for Glyn Schofield to secure the win, drawing clear 100 meters out for a one-length victory.
Australian-bred Boban, who is out of the Kenmare mare Kenbelle, was timed in 1:38.19 on turf rated dead. He is trained by Chris Waller for a partnership. The Chipping Norton win improved his record to nine wins from 21 career starts.