13 March, 2024

Fernando Phil wins Horsham Cup

Fernando Phil won the $55,000 Group 2 Sportsbet Horsham Cup in brilliant style on Friday night.

By Chris Graetz

Anthony Koutoufides with trainer Michelle Mallia and winner Fernando Phil.
Anthony Koutoufides with trainer Michelle Mallia and winner Fernando Phil.

The two-year-old out of Fernando Bale and Zoom Out was a reserve and got a run in the field due to the scratching on War Time Novelty.

He got room early in the race and held out race favourites Explicit and Tangela Bale to get to an early lead and he was never headed, winning by one and a half lengths ahead of Explicit in a time of 26.95 over the 485m.

Nature Strip was third a further length away with Funny Old Fellow in fourth.

Fernando Phil is a multiple group 1 finalist and his earnings have reached a total of $130,120. He was paying $10 for the win in the Cup.

Trained by Michelle Mallia out of Avalon, the victory of Fernando Phil was also an emotional one as the greyhound was named in honour of Mallia's father-in-law Phil Magri who passed away when Fernando Phil was nine months old.

Mallia said that the win was special.

"It was a great feeling and a special win," Mallia said.

"When he missed out on the heats I was disappointed. He ran a 27.18 and it was probably a faster time than some of the other dogs in the cup. For him to get a run was exciting and for him to win, it's even better.

"When I left home I said all he needs is a little room and he will show how good he is and he has done that. He has done the job."

This is Fernando Phil's biggest win of his career after being in multiple group one finals and Mallia said he just drew the right box.

"He has made a lot of group ones such as the Australian Cup, Silver Chief and Great Chase and he drew the pink box in every one of them and it isn't his caper," Mallia said.

"Boxed draws have killed him a little bit and you can't help that, it is what it is, but he drew well and he showed what he can do."

The Horsham Cup Consolation (485m) went the way of Shima Current for Tom Dailly, the son of Shima Shine and Swift Current scoring by two-and-a-half lengths in a fast 26.75.  

Local trainers Andrea Gurry and Peter Carter also tasted minor success.

Gurry claimed a second and third in the final race of the card with Kabuto Bale and Extremely respectively.

Peter Carter also secured second place with his dog, Another Houdini in the 485 GRV Vicbred Series Final.


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