Phoenix Thoroughbreds completed an Australian Group One double in less than 24 hours thanks to Farnan’s success in the Golden Slipper.
The victory of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained colt also signalled a significant landmark for the Dubai-based team, confirming their place on the global bloodstock scene as Group One-winning breeders.
Raced in partnership with Aquis, the son of Never In Doubt was drawn on the wide outside for the World’s richest two-year-old race but what followed was a display of top-class ability coupled with some superb riding from Hugh Bowman.
Showing great tactical speed from the barriers Farnan was out in front from the get-go with Bowman grabbing the rail and setting out to tick off the fractions. Always comfortable out in the lead as his rivals dropped away one by one Farnan found himself in a two-way go for the win with Away Game in the home straight. Not to be denied a famous victory the colt quickened well under his Jockey’s urgings to record a near two-length success.
“I’m lost for words to be honest,” Bowman said. “I’d just like to congratulate Gai and Adrian and their team for the preparation to develop this horse to behave and race the way he did this afternoon was second to none.
“I’ve been lucky enough to ride some really good horses over my career as everyone knows, but I haven’t ridden a better two-year-old. Just his mannerisms and his professionalism that is one thing but his ability is another. I could sense the pressure coming at the 200m and I hadn’t asked for full throttle, but when I did my word, he responded and responded in style.
“Sydney has been my home since I started riding and this is the signature race for me growing up and to win it – I’m just lost for words and so proud and thankful to connections to instil the trust in me to do the job.”
The victory was a record seventh in the race for Gai Waterhouse and a first in partnership with Adrian Bott.
Farnan’s win was hot on the heels of Loving Gaby’s victory in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley a day earlier.
Returning to the scene of her greatest success, that of her Manikato Stakes win, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trainee was facing a rematch with Newmarket handicap conquerer Bivouac. In the end, however, the star filly was imperious under jockey Craig Williams beating that rival into third to claim her second Group One title.
“I thought the key to this race was the start,” explained co-trainer Maher. “Craig had to be quite forceful with her to get her in that position and I think that was the difference. She looked to be travelling quite well and he is a high-quality horse Bivouac, but it was her night tonight.”
“I wouldn’t say a race like the Golden Eagle, similar to what Sunlight did, mightn’t be out of her reach given she has been to the mile,” Maher continued, considering the filly’s next target. “But the TJ (Smith) has always been the plan first. If she pulls up well, we’ll definitely look at that.”
The weekend was made even sweeter for Phoenix with co-owned Reloaded finding the places in the Rosehill Guineas. Overall it’s three valuable wins ins three days in Australia for the owners, who also saw Asharani win the Provincial Championships Qualifier at Newcastle.