Talented gelding Fontelina is yet to record a Group 1 victory but the five-year-old is set to have a number of opportunities to score a win at the highest level of racing during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival.
Fontelina was sent to the spelling paddock following his impressive fourth place finish in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 but will only spend a brief period away from the stable begin his autumn preparation.
Trainer Anthony Cummings told Racing Ahead that the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) will be the major 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing goal for the son of Testa Rossa before heading to Sydney for the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and the $2.5 million Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m), which is now the richest open sprint race in the world.
“Fontelina comes back with a view of going towards the Newmarket,” Cummings said on RSN.
“Whether that is first-up or not I am not quite sure yet; he may run in the Lightning as a lead-in.
“That race, the Galaxy and the T.J. will all be high on his agenda.”
Fontelina had an extremely consistent 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign; starting his preparation with a ninth place finish in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) before going within a nose of breaking his Group 1 duck when he finished second behind Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
The five-year-old returned to the winners circle with an impressive win over Spirit Of Boom and Rarefied in the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) on Victoria Derby Day and worked home strongly to finish fourth behind Buffering in the VRC Sprint Classic.
Fontelina has now had ten starts at Group 1 level but until this spring had generally failed to fire in elite company; finishing in the second half of the field in the 2011 T.J. Smith (1600m) in Brisbane, the 2012 Australian Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne, the 2012 Patinack Farm Classic, the 2013 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) and the 2013 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Cummings has not had much success in feature sprint races is chasing his first win in the Lighting Stakes, Newmarket Handicap, T.J. Smith Stakes and The Galaxy.