Classy three-year-old Fontein Ruby has secured without doubt her biggest victory to date at Flemington this afternoon, leading from start to finish to take out the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m).
Jumping from the gates well, Fontein Ruby was immediately led to the fore by jockey Mark Zahra; settling nicely and setting only a fair tempo over the back straight and rounding the bend.
Finding the final straight with a clear run along the rails, the Turffontein filly broke clear of her closest rivals with 400m to travel, and while appearing to fade with 200m left to run as Pittsburgh Flyer closed in, displayed a healthy kick to again push clear and sustain a strong-enough sprint to hold out a late charge from favourite Maastricht; Crafty following through for third.
Mark Zahra delivered an exceptional ride on Fontein Ruby in the 2014 Edward Manifold Stakes, and was pleased with his classy partner’s ability to maintain to the line.
“She can get her head up and get on the chewy a bit so we sort of let her stride to the front and she was pretty good once she was there. Gee she was tough,” Zahra said immediately after the race.
Asked whether or not he was confident Fontein Ruby would respond well to an increase in distance, Zahra said all signs through the running of the Edward Manifold Stakes point towards a successful step-up.
“She’s sort of relaxing better each run and she’s only just won today, but when they get to her she always seems to find, so you wouldn’t put it beyond her,” Zahra added.
Adding a third victory to a racing career which has also featured three minor places over a total of just nine competitive starts, Fontein Ruby was unable to secure much of a consistent run of form over four autumn starts this year, but did finish a credible third amongst classy competition in the Inglis Premier 2.y.o (1200m) most notably on February 12th.
Returning to the track in peak condition this time in, the filly out of Charming Ruby won minors over 1200m and 1400m respectively before running fifth in the TMB Printing Handicap (1400m) in her only other start prior to the Edward Manifold Stakes.