Victoria Derby Goal for Fiorente 3YO Skyphios
The $150,000 VRC Byerley Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on Saturday was expected to produce another victory for last start stakes-winning filly Quang Tri and it certainly looked that way when she shot clear of her rivals with a furlong to run.
Quang Tri had a bit of work to do in the run after being caught wide, but she looked the winner until Fiorente (IRE) gelding Skyphios charged home from last to win by three-quarters of a length running away.
Trained by Rob Blacker, Skyphios was fifth two starts ago in the Listed VRC Anzac Day Stakes before finishing unplaced behind Quang Tri last start in the Listed VRC Taj Rossi Final over 1600m, but relished the step up in distance and a cold ride from Harry Coffey to break his maiden.
With nearly six lengths back to the third horse, it’s a good indication the first two juveniles home are well above average and the winner now has automatic entry to the Victoria Derby with the Byerley Handicap a qualifying race.
The Group I VRC Victoria Derby (2500m) in the spring is the goal for Skyphios with his trainer keen to see his charge perform over longer distances.
“He got between horses in the Taj Rossi and was over-racing so that race was wipe,” said Blacker.
“I thought nine furlongs at Flemington today would be a completely different race.
“We’ll give him a little break now as there is no pressure. He’s been running in races that were too short for him his whole life and I think a couple of 2000m runs before the Derby will do him.”
Retained to race by his breeders, Skyphios has a pedigree that screams Derby being by Widden Stud based Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente from Spleasure, a winning daughter of Epsom Derby winning sire New Approach (IRE).
Spleasure is a grand-daughter of four time Group I winning Sadler’s Wells mare Islington, whose dam Hellenic won the Group I Yorkshire Oaks and produced Group I winning stayers Greek Dance and Mountain High in addition to Islington.
Hellenic is also the third dam of Fiorente, so Skyphios is line bred to this exceptional racemare and producer 4 x 4.
A proven sire of staying stakes-winners, Fiorente has a couple of big crops of rising two and three year-olds in the pipeline that should ensure plenty of success for him over the next few seasons as they mature.
The two time Group I winning son of Monsun stands this spring at a fee of $9,900.