SUNDAY: April 19, 2020: THE late great Sydney racing journalist Bert Lillye often said: “There’s a story behind every stable door”.
And so it is with lightly-raced Lonhro filly Solid Foundation, who broke through at her fifth start and first for her Hawkesbury trainer Matt Vella at last Friday’s Orange Cup Showcase meeting.
Solid Foundation (Chad Lever) started $3.50 second favorite in the 3YO & Upwards Maiden Handicap (1000m) and gamely ran down $3.30 favorite Kiss And Tell in the shadows of the post.
Vella, a talented horseman who breaks in and pre-trains horses as well as training a number in his own right, maintained his unblemished record for Sir Owen Glenn’s Go Bloodstock Australia in the process.
“I have won a race with every horse I have trained so far for Sir Owen,” a delighted Vella said.
“I broke in Solid Foundation, and she went to Joe Pride at Warwick Farm for her first four runs, which included two city fourths.
“When it appeared she might be battling to win a race in town, she came back to me to train, so it was a terrific thrill to win with her first-up.
“Solid Foundation did a good job because she went into the Orange race with only one barrier trial behind her.
“She had a quiet trial over 760m at Hawkesbury on March 23, and I intended to trial her again before going to the races.
“But being on the fresh side she banged a leg in the stable after that trial and as a result went into Friday’s race probably around only 60 per cent, and was still good enough to win.”
Vella clinched his fourth win of the season – and the 96th for Hawkesbury trainers – and his success with Solid Foundation carried real significance from a future viewpoint as a broodmare when she is retired from racing.
“Solid Foundation is a three-quarter sister to Sir Owen’s multiple Group 1 winner and son of Sebring Criterion (who won the 2014 ATC Derby and 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick and later that same year was runner-up to Winx in the Cox Plate and third in Prince of Penzance’s Melbourne Cup at Flemington),” Vella explained.
“Solid Foundation’s granddam Joleur (by Fastnet Rock) is a full sister to Mica’s Pride, the dam of Criterion.
“Unfortunately, Criterion produced around only 18 foals at stud before being declared infertile, and Mica’s Pride is now rising 22 years of age and may not have many more foals.
“Thus Solid Foundation is very valuable to Sir Owen, and hopefully we can win some more races with her.”
Solid Foundation is the third foal of Upon This Rock, who died in 2017 a fortnight after foaling the so far unraced now two-year-old Sebring filly Cornerstone.
Sir Owen Glenn, the well-known businessman and philanthropist who divides his time between Australia and New Zealand, purchased the superb facility adjoining Hawkesbury racecourse previously occupied by SA trainer Tony McEvoy when he had a satellite stable in NSW (now named Glenn Haven Horse Farm), and employs Vella to run his business.
“I’ve got seven or eight horses in work, and fortunately a couple of them are by Criterion,” Vella said.
“They are only youngsters, but go allright.”