Fontelina To Signal His Arrival In TJ Smith

He’s the second favourite in betting for the TJ Smith at Eagle Farm tomorrow but Fontelina hasn’t attracted a skerrick of the attention given to some of the other contenders in the event.

Hot Snitzel has deservedly being the number one talking point given he blew them away last start and is the top pick to do it again.

Benfica has been the other ‘celebrity’ after missing the jump last week and never getting into the race.

Most importantly though the ongoing battle between Darley and Patinack Farm as Darley look for a Group 1 clean sweep of the juvenile season has been what’s dominated headlines.

That’s all fine by Fontelina’s trainer Anthony Cummings though, he’s content to quietly go about his business and beta them both tomorrow afternoon.

It’s a race he knows how to win, Outback Prince snatching the title back in 2004.

There’s no doubt he was a good horse and according to Cummings, the same can be said about his current chance.

“Fontelina is every bit as good as Outback Prince,” Cummings said.

“There’s a fair bit of upside to him.”

In terms of race experience there is plenty between them at the same time though.

Outback Prince was at the end of a long two-year-old season with eight starts under his belt while Fontelina has had just two previous to this.

He’s made the most of his limited chances though easily winning the Listed Phoenix at Doomben last start.

Before that he ran second on debut at Canterbury  in an 1100m maiden.

“Outback Prince had a lot more racing than this bloke has had and was very much a colt,” Cummings said.

“This guy is easier to deal with and he’s got a similar level of ability.”

Outback Prince never quite reached the same level again after his two-year-old career, although he did place at Group 1 level on three occasions.

They were quality events as well, he was 2nd in the 2004 Spring Champion Stakes, 3rd in the 2005 Rosehill Guineas and 3rd the same year in the George Main Stakes.

A career like that certainly makes Cummings current opinion of Fontelina worth noting.

He bought him at the Gold Coast Magic Millions sale last year and is relying on pedigree to justify a 1600m trip so early in his career.

While it might seem like a big ask to run at Group 1 level so quickly it’s a tactic he may as well get used to as Cummings will continue to be aggressive throughout the spring as well.

“He’ll go straight to the paddock after the TJ Smith and will come back for the Golden Rose in Sydney and all the major three-year-old races in Melbourne in the spring,” he said.

“The Caulfield Guineas will be one of his main targets.”

Like many he see’s Hot Snitzel as the big danger and he doesn’t see the mile as being any big disadvantage to the favourite.

“The way Hot Snitzel won the Sires he’s going to be thereabouts again,” Cummings said.

“I thought he went to the line well when he won that day so 1600 metres shouldn’t be a problem.”

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