Danehill option for Saracino

Saracino (Lisa Allpress) earning his Australian trip with a superb Foxbridge Plate win.

Saracino (Lisa Allpress) earning his Australian trip with a superb Foxbridge Plate win.

Smart Cambridge three-year-old Saracino will be flown to Melbourne next week and make his Australian debut in the Gr. 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 10. 

Bruce Perry, racing manager for Saracino’s owner Lib Petagna, said the Per Incanto colt had come through his fresh-up win in the Gr. 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge in good order and the sensible move was sending him straight to Australia to continue his build-up toward the Gr. 1 Caulfield Guineas in October.

“His programme is still to be decided, but he’s a high-class colt and we wanted to get him straight to Australia,” said Perry.

“He’ll probably go from the Danehill on to the Guineas Prelude and, if he looks like he’ll run out a strong mile, on to the Guineas itself.

“If he shows he’ll be better kept to sprinting, then there’s the option of the Coolmore Stakes. My gut feeling is he’ll run a strong mile.”

Placed in last season’s Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes as one of three starts as a two-year-old, the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Saracino became the first three-year-old winner of the weight-for-age Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in 32 years.

“We were delighted with his Foxbridge run,” said Perry. “We thought he could do that. He’s got so much ability and it was just a matter of him running out the last 100 metres of his race strongly, which he did.”

There are several suitable races at Hastings on Saturday for Saracino, among them the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes, the El Roca 3yo Sprint and the 1200-metre special conditions maiden, but connections of his potential rivals can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Petagna will have representatives in both the El Roca Sprint and the special conditions maiden through the classy three-year-olds Ugo Foscolo and Eleonora.

The Stephen Marsh-trained Zacinto gelding Ugo Foscolo will bid to stretch his unbeaten sequence to three in the El Roca Sprint, while the Baker-Forsman-trained Eleonora will be first-up in the special conditions maiden since her last-start second in the Listed Champagne Stakes at Ellerslie last April.

“Ugo Foscolo will run at Hastings and then might not be seen till the Hawke’s Bay Guineas and he could go straight from there to the 2000 Guineas without another run,” said Perry.

“He’s a clean-winded, athletic horse. I’d like to think he’d be winning this weekend. I’d like to see him win them all.”

A satisfactory run from Eleonora at Hastings would see her join Saracino on the flight to Melbourne to prepare for the Gr.1 Victoria Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in November.

“She’s coming up really well,” said Perry. “Murray and Andrew are happy with her, though the 1200 metres this weekend might just be a bit sharp for her.”

– NZ Racing Desk