By Ray Hickson
Golden Slipper winner Farnan might be something of a fallen hero after a forgettable spring but co-trainer Adrian Bott said he has every reason to think the colt can win fans back in the new year.
The spring was supposed to crown Farnan as a rare talent.
He swept through his two-year-old year winning five of his six starts culminating in his Golden Slipper demolition, earning him the champion two-year-old title, and he was the horse everyone wanted to see come back at three.
But when he returned in September simply nothing went his way and due to injury and other mishaps he would only race twice, six weeks apart, missing a place in the Run To The Rose and Coolmore Stud Stakes.
While many thought retirement to stud might be on the cards after his Melbourne failure, Bott said the three-year-old is back in pre-training, having spelled very well, and is confident he’s lost none of his ability.
“I’ve been to see him and he looks well, he’s had a good break,’’ he said.
“You have to put a line through the spring, it’s not a true reflection on the colt and his ability and in the autumn I feel we can see him bounce back to his best.”
Of course, Farnan was selected by Aquis to run in their TAB Everest slot but he was ruled out on the Monday prior to the $15m race, won by Classique Legend, with a foot issue.
He’s on the $26 line in TAB’s pre-nominations market for the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in April.
Bott said no program has been locked in for the colt as yet, with plenty of time on their side, but he’s adamant he can be a force against the best around.
“It’s still all there,’’ he said.
“What happened in the spring things just didn’t go his way for a number of different reasons. He might have been misjudged for that. We’ll be out to prove that wasn’t the case and show he is the horse everyone knows he is.
“Off the back of the carnival he probably does have to prove himself at the top level against open class, there’s an element of that this campaign, but there’s no reason that can’t happen.”
A second Group 1 came talented mare Shout The Bar’s way in Melbourne in the spring and Bott said she’s returned to the stable with a couple of big Group 1s during The Star Championships on the agenda.
The four-year-old won the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) and ended her spring with a gallant fourth in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Bott said there are two plans for her at this stage.
She’ll either follow the same path as former stablemate Con Te Partiro did this year and target the Group 1 Coolmore Classic, Doncaster Mile and Coolmore Legacy or kick off in Melbourne then chase the Randwick Group 1s at The Star Championships.
“We’re not sure whether the Coolmore Classic is the right race for her, being a dual Group 1 winner it might penalise her and that might force us to look at an alternative,’’ he said.
Shout The Bar is a $26 chance in TAB’s pre-nominations Doncaster Mile market.
There’s no regrets from Bott about missing last Saturday’s Group 2 Villiers Stakes with smart four-year-old Dawn Passage and he remains adamant there’s a big race coming his way in 2021.
Dawn Passage only had a three start spring for a third in the Silver Eagle, a third in the $7.5m Iron Jack Golden Eagle and second in the $1m The Gong.
Dawn Passage runs third in the Golden Eagle
“We’ve always felt he is capable of winning a very good race and it would have been a bit of an ask (to run in the Villiers) as we gave him a busy preparation to get him to the races he contested,’’ he said.
“While it looked an obvious target, and would’ve been great to see him take his place, somewhere along the line something’s got to give.
“There’ll be some nice targets there for him and if he keeps improving, which he has every preparation to date, there’s no reason he can’t keep stepping up.”
Flight Stakes placegetter Vangelic is also back in work and she’s a horse that Bott says could easily jump out of the ground in the autumn.
The Vancouver filly has only won one from eight, and that was on debut, but has placings to the likes of Away Game, Dame Giselle and of course Montefilia to her name.
“If she strengthens up a bit and matures she wasn’t far off them running good honest races,’’ Bott said.
“She’s been a lightly framed filly and lacked a bit of that maturity, doing it all on natural ability. Hopefully she can take that next step and win a decent one herself.”