Knowing the odds are stacked against you? Fabrizio doesn’t. Not when his mother dies after complications during his birth. Not when he travels the speed of light out in front of a group 1 field and flattens himself. Not when punters laugh off his prospects when he turns up at the races a fortnight later. And wins. And then again.
Now? His owner and breeder George Altomonte might laugh longest. But it wasn’t always the way with the curious case of Fabrizio, perhaps the best foal out of group 1-producing mare Desina.
“She died giving birth to Fabrizio and it’s a sad story,” Altomonte said. “We saved him, but the mare was bleeding internally and we couldn’t save her. At least we’ve got him and he’s not a bad horse.
“She was a great mare and bred some beautiful horses. As long as you cross them properly they can produce something that is pretty good. That cross with High Chaparral is very good.”
So was the one with Hussonet, producing Oakleigh Plate winner Eagle Falls. Ditto another with the same sire that produced group 3 winner Mahara. And High Chaparral? It might have been the best of the lot if Fabrizio can justify his favourite tag and win the group 2 Villiers Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
“He’s a very nice horse and he should have won the Epsom,” Altomonte said of the controversial ride from French lightweight Johan Victoire, which had Fabrizio gasping for air in the straight before he fought on to finish a little more than three lengths from winner Hauraki.
“He just said he couldn’t hold him and you can’t run a horse 12 lengths ahead of the field and still win. I thought he did a pretty good job even so. I thought it might have knocked him out. We gave him a fairly good spell, but that’s what can happen. They can collapse.”
Fabrizio didn’t. And regretting one famous Randwick mile, Altomonte and co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have set their sights on another. With the hope of reaching the biggest one of all in the $3 million Doncaster during The Championships.
Altomonte’s vast Corumbene Stud operation has spread its wings in terms of trainers of late. But one constant always remains: a good horse with Gai.
Golden Slipper heroine Overreach fitted the mould, Fabrizio might also scale the giddy group 1 heights.
“Gai and I have always been a good combination,” Altomonte said. “We pick the horses out that suit her style of training and I think you’ve got to do that.
“You wouldn’t want to get a very small-boned type of horse to give to her as she gets the best out of them. They’ve got to perform to the maximum all the time. But she’s a very good trainer and a good lady, too.
“From a yearling he had great conformation, temperament and Gai will probably tell you we went up to the farm at Corumbene and she saw him and fell in love with him. She still loves him. And she’s a pretty good judge. She’s very confident [in the Villiers Stakes].”
With good reason. Fabrizio was the $3.10 top pick with Ladbrokes on Thursday, clearly shading Victorian-trained Hazzabeel ($8.50) and last week’s Rosehill winner High Midnight ($9.50) which are the only other runners under double-figure odds.
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