Things haven't quite worked out for Port Macquarie gelding Victorem at his two starts in Queensland this preparation, but Saturday's Lough Neagh Stakes sets up beautifully for the talented son of I Am Invincible. At his current quote, I'll be all over him.
He is racing like he wants this trip now, rather than the six furlongs, and he draws perfectly to not have to get as far back as he has been over that shorter journey. With the solid speed engaged here, he'll have every chance at a beautiful run midfield, before using that quality turn of foot late to run down the leaders -- which he was unable to do in both the Keith Noud and the George Moore.
He has never really been one of mine so far in his relatively short career. I have bet against him in his last two starts, but I can't deny his underlying talent and he gets every chance here to showcase it in a very good race.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
He's the highest rated horse in a set weights race, usually a very positive thing, and Bluebrook can take advantage of that on Saturday and secure his fourth win in what looks like being be a pretty handy career.
Towards the back end of his three-year-old days, the Kelly Schweida trained gelding started to hit his straps, then he returned with an eye-catching effort over the 1200m here a fortnight ago. He was back to near last on the fence, before being extricated wide after straightening and winding up hard late to get within half a length of the winner Hingus Rose.
He gets to a more suitable journey now second up. He's that little bit fitter and this is an easier race. Sure he goes up in weight, but as mentioned, this is a set weights affair and he's actually treated extremely well under this scale against this lot. I expect him to go on with things now and there should be better races in store for him soon enough.
His form may read X00 in the guide, but don't let that put you off Masculino on Saturday, because the Mick Price trained son of Smart Missile is ready to win and I'll be launching into him in the third on the Flemngton card.
A multiple city winner as a three-year-old, Masculino returned on Melbourne Cup Day and never handled the wet track but wasn't too bad behind Fifty Stars. Second up, in a good edition of the Kilmore Cup, he didn't get the room he required in the straight and although he finished 11th beaten just over three lengths, it was a nice effort with little luck.
He gets out a little further in trip now, onto a bigger circuit, and the smaller field will help. I expect they'll be keen to be more positive on him in the run and be among the first few. He's got more upside than the rest of these and I'll be shocked if we don't see him go very close at the bare minimum.
OVER THE ODDS
He's been a little bit of enigma Fabrizio. It has now been some 20 months since he won a race, and I must admit he's been a little bit of a disappointment given what I thought he was going to be early on his career.
A genuine frontrunner, he can often be overly fierce when leading, sometimes his own doing, sometimes his hand has been forced by a rival, and sometimes it's been a mistake by a jockey. All of it has led to him being a "win or run nowhere" type, with only two placings behind his eight wins.
He has been building nicely this preparation under big weights. First up he was only run down late to be beaten a length. Second up he held on OK behind Pecans at Hawkesbury after setting a solid pace. Then third up, in the Goulburn Cup, his main rival Interlocuter, who he gave 4 ½ kilos to, had the perfect sit behind him and got to him with about 200 metres to go. I really thought Fabrizio fought on bravely when he was arguably entitled to lose by much further.
He'll be rock hard fit now for the Villiers, and, with the blinkers back on, there's little doubt they are going to try and run their rivals ragged with him. I'd love to see him enter the straight with a big margin. If he hasn't spent too much petrol establishing that lead, and he hasn't over-raced in front, then I could see him giving a huge kick at the furlong pole and be hard to run down, even with the 59 kilos.
Leg 1 - 1,2,3,7
Leg 2 - 1,5,6,7,9,13,14
Leg 3 - 1,2,9,16,17
Leg 4 - 3,9,10
($100 = 23.81%)
Leg 1 - 1,2,3,4,5,7,8
Leg 2 - 1,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13
Leg 3 - 1,2,7
Leg 4 - 9
($100 = 47.62%)