Sarten win revives Guineas hopes

Ugo Foscolo (Michael Coleman) holding out the favourite Mongolian Falcon to win today's James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

Ugo Foscolo (Michael Coleman) holding out the favourite Mongolian Falcon to win today’s James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

Ugo Foscolo’s classic campaign is firmly back on track with a performance at Te Rapa today that took a weight off trainer Stephen Marsh’s shoulders.

The son of Zacinto bounced back to his best with a defeat of a hot field of three-year-olds and fellow Riccarton hopefuls in the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial.

“I’m rapt to see him back in the winning groove,” said Marsh. “We just had to try and forget that last run and we came here today hoping that he could bounce back.”

Ugo Foscolo was unbeaten in his first three starts, but he lost his favouritism for next month’s Gr.1 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton after a nightmare trip to Hastings where he raced erratically when sixth in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas.

“I thought he would go there and win, but they pulled up mid-race and he fought the rider and was caught in the worst part of the track,” said Marsh.

“We did all the tests on him to make sure he was right and they didn’t show anything wrong.”

Under a smart ride from Michael Coleman, Ugo Foscolo strode to the front at the 700 metres today and he stuck grimly to his task in the straight.

“I was going to be stuck three wide and when they steadied up I pressed forward,” said Coleman.

“It was a good, tough win. He needs to be ultra-fit to get the mile (of the 2000 Guineas), but when they’ve got that much talent they are a good chance to get it.”

Ugo Foscolo beat Mongolian Falcon by a short neck and they were clear of the runner-up’s stablemate Wyndspelle, who flashed home late.

Ugo Foscolo has now earned a $7 quote for the 2000 Guineas with Mongolian Falcon, who won the Hawke’s Bay Guineas, remaining the $5 favourite.

– NZ Racing Desk.