Gai Waterhouse and Damien Oliver combined again with Fiorente to win another Flemington Group 1 with a stunning performance in the $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) today.
The trainer and jockey combination also saluted with Fiorente in last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
While Waterhouse and Oliver individually have won most of the major races on the Australian Racing Calender, neither had won an Australian Cup before which made today’s win even more special.
Waterhouse will now send Fiorente back to Sydney to prepare for the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19 and showed today that he will be the one to beat.
The excitable Waterhouse described Fiorente’s will to win as one of his major winning traits.
“His will to win. There he was at the top of the straight last, back in the field, the pressure was on right from the start and he just had enormous determination to win,” Waterhouse said.
“He is very very special, something special.”
Fiorente showed that he was on track for an outstanding Autumn Carnival with a first up win in the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 and went on to prove that he is the weight for age star of the Carnival.
Oliver was happy to sit back near the tail of the field with Cox Plate and Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award setting a moderate tempo up front.
Craig Williams on Shamus Award put the pressure on at the top of the straight with Oliver easing to the outside to give Fiorente a clear run to the line.
“He is really stamping his authority, It’s is a great honour to be part of his journey and it’s great to see a Melbourne Cup winner come back and be so dominant in the Australian Cup,” Oliver said.
“A moderate sort of clip for the first half, after the half mile the tempo increased and he moved into the race fairly nicely and I just gave him some clear air.”
“He was really chiming in beautifully at the clock tower. He won with authority.”
Shamus Award ($4.40) hit the wall at the 200m to fade to finish sixth while Fiorente ($1.95 favourite) and Green Moon ($18) locked horns with Fiorente edging away at the finish to score a half a length win over the 2012 Melbourne Cup winner with Foreteller ($12) a short neck away in third spot.