Australian Cup favourite Fiorente will give Gai Waterhouse even more ammunition to justify the six year old’s classification as the best stayer she has trained if he wins the 2000m weight for age feature at Flemington today.
Waterhouse rates last year’s Melbourne Cup winner among the best horses she has trained over her illustrious career, which includes in recent times Pierro, More Joyous, Grand Armee, Desert War, Juggler and Dance Hero, but she said the European import is definitely the best stayer she has trained.
“Fiorente is a very special horse, he is right up there with the best I’ve trained,’’ Waterhouse told The Daily Telegraph.
“He is certainly the best stayer I’ve trained and he’s getting better. He’s only lightly raced and he has developed into such a big, powerful horse now.’’
A win today by Fiorente in the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup will lift his prizemoney over the $6 million mark and put him into an elite group of horses with only eight Australian trained galloper already over that mark.
Triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva heads the list with just over $14m, followed by Sunline ($11.35m), So You Think ($10.75), Northerly ($9.34m), Black Caviar ($7.95), Fields Of Omagh ($6.5m), Tie The Knot ($6.2m), Takeover Target ($6.34m).
The list above includes So You Think who was trained in Australia by Cups King Bart Cummings for five Group 1 wins and also collected five Group 1 wins in Europe when trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland.
And even though Sunline did most of her racing in Australia, she was prepared by Kiwi trainer Trevor McKee while Black Caviar did pick up £283,550 for her win in the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in England when under the care of Melbourne trained Peter Moody.
Waterhouse produced Fiorente for a first up win in the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 and she can’t fault his condition heading to Flemington today.
Fiorente will head back to Sydney after today’s Australian Cup to prepare for the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19 with Waterhouse still to finalise his Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign.
“I’m keen to get him to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes but I haven’t finalised his Sydney races yet,’’ Waterhouse said.
“I’ll work that out after he gets back to Sydney, either Sunday or Monday.’’
The Australian Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au has Fiorente the $2.20 favourite ahead of Cox Plate and Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award at $4.40 with the Anthony Cummings trained Thunder Fantasy at $6.50 and Foreteller the other runner under double figures at $9.