It has been nearly a decade since Rich Hill Stud stallion Shocking won the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and this year he could have a contender in the race in the form of his Group One-winning daughter Fanatic.
The Lindsay Park-trained mare once again showed her class over two miles when winning the Gr.2 Adelaide Cup on Monday and her camp believes she is a genuine star over that distance.
Bred and owned by Taranaki dairy farmer Sean Kiernan, the five-year-old mare will now be set for the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) next month before a possible campaign toward the Melbourne Cup in the spring.
“They (trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig) are really keen to put her into the Sydney Cup while she is in good form,” Kiernan said. “They said she is a superstar over two miles so we’ll keep going.
“The Melbourne Cup has always been the long range goal. She is an elite athlete over two miles.”
Kiernan flew over to Adelaide on Sunday morning to watch his mare compete in the Morphettville feature and was duly rewarded when she got the win, although there was a fair bit of anticipation leading into the race.
“David Hayes told me months ago she would win it and the plan came off, so I was very relieved,” Kiernan said.
He was also full of praise for expatriate New Zealand jockey Michael Walker, who sat off the speed throughout the race before keeping to the rail on the home turn to take the lead and run away from the field.
The Darren Weir-trained Ormito was her only competition, challenging her to the wire to finish a long neck away in second with Poppiholla a further two lengths away in third.
“We said before the race she is carrying topweight so she needed an easy run if possible and that plan came off,” Kiernan said.
He now has a possible Melbourne Cup contender on his hands, a plan that has come together nicely since purchasing Fantatic’s dam Komplete Klass.
“Curraghmore supremo Gordon Cunningham bought her for me,” Kiernan said. “He had seen one of her foals at Bruce Sherwin’s place, Raffles Farms, and inquired what the mother was doing. She was on the way to the Gold Coast sales and we intercepted her in Sydney and bought her.
“She was in-foal to Keeper and we sold that one. I then bred her to Shocking wanting a staying horse.”
Fanatic was the resulting foal and she has impressed both Kiernan and Cunningham from an early age.
“She was always a nice type, she turned into the horse we always thought she would be physically,” Kiernan said. “She caught Gordon’s eye all the way through. Now as a five-year-old she has fully matured.”
A Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner for original trainers Graeme Sanders and Debbie Sweeney, Fanatic has gone on to mature into a quality staying horse, adding the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) as well as the Adelaide Cup to her record.
She will now be set for loftier targets and possibly a tilt at the most revered two-mile race in the world, the Melbourne Cup. – NZ Racing Desk.