FENWAY tunes up for Cox Plate trial

Group 1 winning mare “Fenway” will be on trial for a tilt at next month’s Cox Plate when she lines up in Friday’s Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.

The four-year-old was given a look at the Moonee Valley track on Monday morning when she worked alongside stable mate Always Lucky over 1000m.

With jockey Mark Zahra in the saddle, Fenway sat off her lesser-performed stable mate before comfortably winning the gallop.

Co-trainer Shannon Hope, who prepares Fenway in partnership with his father Lee, said he believed the daughter of High Chaparral needed to win on Friday to justify pressing on to the Cox Plate.

“I would have thought she’d have to win but in saying that she is already a Group 1 winner but another Group 2 win would certainly help,” Hope said.

“I brought her to Moonee Valley just to make sure she’d handle the track, I know it’s different to race pressure but she seemed to wheel around the corner no problem.”

“She’s a very casual mare that takes everything in her stride and the trip down here should just bring her on a little bit.”

Fenway secured the Hope’s first Group 1 success as a partnership when she defeated First Seal in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March.

Hope said he was confident the mare had returned a better horse this preparation and was pleased with her unplaced first-up run in the Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

“Mentally and physically she’s a lot stronger this preparation,” he said.

“In all of her runs, apart from the Vinery and the Oaks, she’s hit a flat spot where as she never did at Flemington and that’s another reason why we’ve brought her here to Moonee Valley, it’s a track where she can build her momentum during the race.”

Hope said Stakes winning mare “Madam Gangster” would run in Sunday’s Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) at Flemington after she missed the start and subsequently finished at the tail of the field in the Let’s Elope.

Meanwhile, the Seymour-based horseman couldn’t have been happier with the way “Sabatini” came through her victory at Caulfield on Saturday and said she will have her next start in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 17.


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