IRISH EYES SMILING AS FANCY FEET WINS STRICKLAND by John Elsegood
Trainer Shane Quilty’s favourite galloper, Fancy Feet enhanced her premier position by winning the Group 3, $125,000 Strickland Stakes at Belmont yesterday.
It was the first group victory for both trainer and mare and Quilty has every reason to “love her to bits.”
Quilty heaped praise on form rider Brad Parnham, who landed a double for the day by winning on the mare. “Brad is a great rider and he had to get busy late to produce the goods.”
Quilty was referring to late challenges from Bridgestone and Ranger. Fancy Feet had raced in fourth position for much of the journey and when he swept her to the lead he changed the whip to the left hand to keep her from veering inwards.
Parnham said he was happy with her position in running and the way she kept going at the end after having a bit of flat spot.
She is as tenacious as he is strong.
Ultimate third place-getter Bridgestone (Steven Parnham) loomed as a danger, in the straight, but Parnham was able to beat off his older brother. It was left to perennial place-getter Ranger to grab second place some three quarters of a length away. Despite having won over $701,000, Ranger has not won since November 2011 when he beat Grand Nivarna in the Group 2, Lee Steere Stakes.
Grand Nivarna, a winner over $1.1m, having his last race start in the Strickland Stakes, finished last and cast his off side plate in running.
Quilty said Fancy Feet may race one more time, this preparation, although he is leaning towards turning her out immediately for a spell.
MORE IRISH EYES : It cost Brian Chegwidden $35,000 to buy the small Irish grey mare, Lucciola, and almost as much again to transport her to WA.
Racing in fourth and fifth position, for Lucy Warwick, the mare swooped on them straightening for home, in the Pink Ladies Handicap (2200m), and effortlessly won from two other greys, stable-mate Rive Gauche and Verdello Blue.
Stewards reported Just a Falcon (last) bled from both nostrils and suffered cardiac arrhythmia in this race.
Lucciola has won her last five races and seven from her last nine and won almost $124,000 for her connections. The victory gave trainer
Justin Warwick a quinella in the event.
Lucy Warwick also completed another metropolitan double when she landed Blacksmith a winner in the sixth race (1000m) for trainer Deane Skipworth.
Blacksmith has not raced since December, and has gone without a win for 1113 days. However, he was well supported, being backed in from $26 to $13.
Second for most of the race Blacksmith held off Pininci (Pat Carbery) by a neck. Lucy Warwick reported that her saddle had shifted marginally to the off side shortly after the start while Pininci was held up for a run until the last 150m.
Carbery had more joy in the penultimate race (1300m) where he gave trainer Neville Parnham a double for the day, by scoring on Right Honourable. This time it was Carbery’s turn to fend off a fast finisher, Galoubay (Chris Parnham), to score by a neck.
The owner of the horse is Joan Parnham, the matriarch of a family that enjoyed a most successful day.
Adam Durrant, (in Sweden), was another trainer with two victories at the meeting, Tower of Lonhro and Gladstone. Ben Kennedy’s winning ride on the former completed a fine double for him too as he won earlier on Rebel King.