Famous Seamus is the “forgotten horse” of Saturday’s $200,000 Livamol Hawkesbury Gold Cup, says his locally-based trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith.
In spite of being a Group 1 winner and a $1m plus earner, Famous Seamus (Jay Ford) is the $51 outsider in fixed odds betting with TAB.com.au for the 1600m Group 3 feature.
“There’s no way he should be those odds,” Mayfield-Smith said today. “He might be an eight-year-old, but he is looking better now than he did last preparation when we had some problems.”
Mayfield-Smith pointed out Famous Seamus had a very high temperature the day after beginning that campaign in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 20 last year. Given time to get over that setback, the gelding then pulled a shoe at his next run when a good third to Chetwood in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1350m) on the Beaumont track on September 16. There was nothing wrong with that form, as Chetwood won at Caulfield at his next start and runner-up Le Romain subsequently won the Group 1 Cantala Stakes at Flemington in late October.
For all his problems, Famous Seamus still managed to add another win to his tally during the campaign, easily landing the $125,000 Listed Ladies Day Cup (1400m) on his home track on November 3.
This will be only the gelding’s third start on his home track - he finished fourth to Free Wheeling in the 2012 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) – and his trainer is understandably delighted to have an opportunity to run him in his hometown Cup.
“His benchmark rating never really gave us a chance to tackle the Cup previously, and also it came at the wrong time on the calendar as we were targeting the Brisbane winter carnival sprints (Famous Seamus won the 2014 Group 1 1200m BTC Cup at Doomben),” Mayfield-Smith explained.
“I have always had a plan to step Famous Seamus up in distance because he has solid breeding on his dam’s side.
“He had two trials before he resumed in the All Aged Stakes (a 1400m wfa Group 1) at Randwick a fortnight ago, and that was run on a heavy track which doesn’t suit him.
“The firmer track on Saturday is definitely going to be an advantage.”
Mayfield-Smith said he checks Famous Seamus’ heart rate after fast gallops, and reports the gelding is in great shape for his Cup tilt.
“He might be rising nine years of age, but he has been well looked after,” he said. “Famous Seamus’ owner Jim Simpson has always ensured that.”
Gosford-trained Mighty Lucky (Chris O’Brien) is lining up for his third Hawkesbury Cup. He ran sixth (with 55kg) to Sons Of John in 2015 and last year, with 58kg, was a half-length runner-up to Chris Waller’s Amovatio. Mighty Lucky two starts later won the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1615m) at Doomben.
In an open market, import Spectroscope is the current $5.50 favorite, with Fabrizio ($7) the only other horse under double figures.
Sydney’s premiership pacesetter Brenton Avdulla rides Spectroscope, who won consecutive races over 1350m and 1500m (the latter the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude) at Rosehill Gardens before finishing 10th to stablemate It’s Somewhat in the $3m Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 1.
Spectroscope is one of four Cup runners from trainer John O’Shea’s Godolphin stable; the others being Havana Cooler (Josh Parr), Moher (Kerrin McEvoy) and Duca Valentinois (Tommy Berry).
O’Shea has decided to put blinkers on Havana Cooler, whilst he is taking blinkers off Duca Valentinois and instead using winkers.