Fownes pushes for recognition
If there is such a thing as a downside to success, it's when that success is not accompanied by the appropriate recognition. And that may well be the case with Caspar Fownes, who continued his remarkable rookie season with another double yesterday.
Fownes won the second event with promising New Zealand-bred three-year-old Fifty Fifty (Glyn Schofield) and wasted no time in making it two for the afternoon with Metro Flyer (Craig Williams) in the third.
Fifty Fifty was a solidly supported $54.50 chance but Metro Flyer was a bit harder to find at $132.00, completing a 72-1 stable double.
'I've been having a very good season and, all thing considered, I couldn't be happier with the way things are going,' Fownes said. 'The only thing that's surprised me a little is that even after training doubles and trebles, the phone hasn't been ringing. Things are going well, and we have over 50 horses in work, but I'd have thought these wins might have given a few people a bit of a push to want to join the stable.'
Yesterday's double pushed Fownes to his 16th win in his first season at the helm, following the retirement of father Lawrie, who held the Hong Kong licence with distinction for 22 years.
But an even more revealing statistic is that Fownes' winners and seconds combine a total 40, and in an imaginary premiership for that category he'd be equal second with David Hayes and Tony Cruz (40 each), trailing only the unstoppable John Size (48).
Fownes said O'Reilly three-year-old Fifty Fifty had been selected by his father as a yearling in New Zealand. 'He's a horse that has always showed nice potential,' Fownes explained. 'He had two trials in New Zealand, for a win and a second, before being brought up here.
'His first run at Happy Valley was very good but coming here today we were a bit concerned with the barrier [four], as the outside alleys seem to have an advantage when the rail is in the C+3 position. But Glyn allowed him to work his way across and it was a good, grinding win.'
Williams gave a 10-out-of-10 display to bring Metro Flyer home in the third, with the Kaapstad five-year-old scoring by a head from outsider Doucai (43-1) which, ironically, was ridden by Williams to win his previous start in Class Five on the all-weather track.
'He probably should have won last start when he was held up round the home turn,' Fownes continued.
'Today, Craig gave him a lovely ride from his good barrier and the horse put his head out when it counted.'