THURSDAY: July 9, 2020: NOT even waywardness over the closing stages prevented Fenech from delivering another knockout blow to his rivals at Kembla Grange today.
Providing Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup with his 39th winner of the season – only two short of last season’s tally – the lightly-raced three-year-old made it two victories from only three starts and almost certainly earned himself a crack at midweek company in town.
With Adam Hyeronimus aboard, Fenech ($3.70 favorite) led throughout in the Class 1 Handicap (1200m), following on from his breakthrough Canberra Maiden 1200m success on June 19.
Just as he appeared to have the race in his keeping, Fenech began to shift out 150m from the finish and then abruptly shifted further 50m from the post.
Fortunately, he did not cause interference and Hyeronimus was able to straighten him enough to keep going and hold out Stolen Glance ($4.60) and Chelsea Reign ($13).
“Fenech may have caught sight of the large TV screen inside the rail, and perhaps that brought about him shifting out,” Widdup said this evening.
“He is a big, green fellow and still learning his craft.
“I will probably now have to look for a suitable midweek race in town.”
Named after the legendary Australian boxer Jeff Fenech (who won world titles in three weight divisions in an illustrious career in the ring), the equine Fenech has a truly international pedigree.
His sire is the multiple Australian Group 1 winner and champion stallion Redoute’s Choice (who died in March last year), and his dam National Colour (who died not long after foaling a Snitzel filly in 2018) was also a multiple Group 1 winner in South Africa.
With that pedigree and being an outstanding type, little wonder he fetched $480,000 at the Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale two years ago.
Widdup has been patient with Fenech, who was gelded as a two-year-old and did not begin his racing career until June 4 at Wyong when he finished fourth in a Maiden Plate (1000m).
As Widdup looks to at least equal last season’s number of winners, he will have three runners at Saturday’s Rosehill Gardens meeting.
Recent debut Newcastle winner Shaik (Glen Boss) tackles the 2YO Handicap (1100m), consistent filly Switched (Tim Clark) takes on her own sex in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), and Grafton Ramornie Handicap absentee Sandbar (apprentice Louise Day) lines up in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m).
Day’s 3kg claim will lessen Sandbar’s impost to 59kg.
Widdup withdrew the last-start runner-up from yesterday’s Listed Ramornie (1200m) when he drew poorly.
“Sandbar is going well, and Louise’s claim will certainly help,” Widdup said.
“Shaik has trained on strongly since her Newcastle win, and it will be interesting to see how she shapes up in stronger company in town.
“Switched has been so consistent placing at her last six starts in town, and I’ve been really happy with her this week since she was just caught on the post by Tailleur at Randwick last Saturday.
“I’ll make a final decision on Saturday morning, but at this stage she is backing up as more rain is forecast next week.”