Back in form sprinter Fontelina wrapped up a winning treble for trained Tony Gollan and jockey Jim Byrne when he scored a clear cut win in the Listed $175,000 Jones Retail Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at Doomben last Saturday.
Fontelina claimed his first win in just over two years, compliments of a copy book ride from Byrne, who had teamed up earlier in the day with Gollan to win with brilliant two year old Zelady’s Night Out in the Listed $100,000 The Groove Train Calaway Gal Stakes (1050m) and with Tina Melina in the $65,000 Coca Cola 2MW Handicap (1200m).
Gollan was keen on the chances of Fontelina in the Lough Neagh Stakes after he ran an improving third at his previous start behind stablemates Didintcostalot and Gundy Spirit in the Group 3 $200,000 Channel 7 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben a fortnight ago.
“His last run was great. He had a soft run today and you can see he just wants to win,” Gollan said after the race on Saturday.
“He’s fit and well and it’s just about trying to find the right race for him.
“The plan was to get on the fence and wait for a run as long as possible.”
Now that Fontelina has found the winner’s stall again, Gollan will head to the Gold Coast with the seven year old and has selected Listed $100,000 Goldmarket Handicap (1300m) on December 26 and then the $1m Magic Millions Cup (1400m) two weeks later.
“He’ll head to the Magic Millions Cup now and the Goldmarket along the way,” Gollan said.
Fontelina has only been under the care of Gollan since the start of the Spring Carnival after beginning his racing career with Sydney trainer Anthony Cummings.
The Testa Rossa gelding showed plenty of sprinting potential under Cummings and scored back to back wins in the 2012 and 2013 Group 2 $300,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the Spring Carnival.
Fontelina was also runner up to Rebel Dane in the 2013 Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and to Spirit Of Boom in the 2014 Group 1 $400,000 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Gollan kicked off Fontelina’s preparation with a first up fifth in the Listed $150,000 City Tattersalls Club Lightning (1100m) at Randwick on October 17 followed by a ninth to Eclair Choice in the Group 2 $300,000 tabcomau Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31 before bringing him back to Brisbane for a Summer Carnival campaign that kicked off with the George Moore Stakes.
Saturday’s win in the Lough Neagh Stakes took Fontelina’s prizemoney earnings to just of $1 million and there looks to be plenty of more wins installed.
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