Proven Group 1 winner Fierce Impact is on target for a start in the 2020 Cox Plate after coring a tenacious win in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington today.
Fierce Impact ($4 favourite) was given the run of the race by Mark Zahra, settling just behind the leading division before easing into the clear at the 400m mark.
Fierce Impact attacked the leader Harlem ($41) and then held off all the challengers for a neck victory to record his third Group 1 victory.
Runner up Russian Camelot ($4.60) ran a mighty race after being caught wide to finish second in front of So Si Bon ($31) who also found the line strongly.
The Matthew Smith trained Fierce Impact showed his liking for the Flemington 1600m course after winning the Group 1 $2m Kennedy Cantala during the 2019 Melbourne Spring Carnival over the same course and distance.
Zahra was having his first race ride on Fierce Impact today and produced a faultless display.
“I was closer than he normally is but we were sort of going at a hack canter,” Zahra said.
“I got out and I thought that I was going to win easy but then Russian Camelot is a very good horse and it took me a little while to fight him off.”
“I had to sprint and he beat me in a fight here once before so it was good to switch it back.”
“Flemington, and a bit of rain helped and the good draw just gave me a soft run and he did the rest.”
Zahra expects Smith will consider running Fierce Impact in the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 24 and he doesn’t think the seven year old will be out of place.
“He has a very good trainer Matty Smith so I think if you are going good at this time of the year, so why not see,” Zahra said.
Fierce Impact is now marked at $14 for the Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au.