A horse described as Australia’s best maiden, the Bjorn Baker-trained Fuerza drops back to mid-week company at Canterbury today looking to finally be first past the post ahead of a big spring.
The three-year-old Snippetson colt has raced seven times to date.
But despite five nice minor placings, including their most recent at Group 1 level, they are yet to win a race.
Still it hasn’t been all bad news for connections of the smart galloper.
Having paid just $32,000 for them as a yearling at the 2012 William Inglis and Sons Sydney Classic sales, the fact Fuerza has netted $220,000 in prize money really isn’t a bad effort.
Baker is hoping they will add to that significantly as he eyes some Group 1 majors in both Sydney and Melbourne for the up-and-comer this season.
But first he wants to get a win on their record with Fuerza to race in the $40,000 Big Sports Breakfast Plate (1100m) at 1:48pm (AEST) at Canterbury this afternoon.
There are 11 left in the field following an early scratching, only five of which have had a previous race start.
While they have drawn out in the far outside barrier, Fuerza is the class horse in the field and will be ridden by Jim Cassidy as they look to break their maiden status and gain some confidence.
“Fuerza is Australia’s best maiden, but let’s hope he loses that title tomorrow,” Cassidy told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday evening.
“Fuerza has been running against the best company, he’s back to midweek company and if he can win it will give him plenty of confidence.”
Cassidy rode them in a Rosehill trial over 900m last month where they finished a close second having sat up front throughout, tactics the veteran Hall of Famer plans to engage again today.
“I got him out wide and let him cruise in his trial, and it would be nice to give him a kill tomorrow,” he said.
“He’s nice and fresh and full of himself.”
Fuerza came devastatingly close to doing that in elite company last start when going down by the barest of margins to the Peter Snowden-trained Guelph on Sydney Cup Day.
The duo ran the quinella in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes over the Randwick mile with just a nose separating the winner and runner-up – a result that still has Cassidy shaking his head.
“There wasn’t even a whiff of snail’s slime in that margin,” Cassidy said.
“Without a doubt that race was gut-wrenching.
“The favourite was back in the pack, the heavens opened and then she burst out.”
Still the horse will get their chance this coming prep with Baker eyeing off the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse on September 14 for which they are currently rated a $31 chance.
“He’s still in the Golden Rose, but we’re not sure what path we’d take if we do go there,” Baker told The Daily Telegraph.
They were also one of 235 hopefuls making up the 2013 Caulfield Guineas nominations for the 1600m, $1 million classic to run in Melbourne on October 12 when entries closed on Tuesday.
“He’s also nominated for the Caulfield Guineas, but I still don’t know if he’ll get further than the mile,” Baker said.
“He has to be a chance (at Canterbury).
“He’s drawn wide, but I prefer where he’s drawn compared to barrier one because he’s a horse who likes open spaces and not being cluttered up.
“If he wins, hopefully winning will then become a habit for him.
“It would have been nice to win the Champagne Stakes with him, but it was still a really great result.
“I was lucky with some pretty good results, and that would have capped it off.”