Fownes suffers heartache as Jackpot Delight withdrawn
Champion trainer's big hope found to be lame for QE II Cup
Champion trainer Caspar Fownes experienced the low side of big-time racing yesterday when he found his Audermars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup contender Jackpot Delight to be lame in the right front leg. He was formally scratched from the race later in the morning.
Fownes had been enthusiastic about Jackpot Delight's chances in tomorrow's $14 million feature and the horse was being warmed up prior to his final gallop when he noticed the gelding take a lame step.
'I immediately went to inspect him and there it was, he was sore in his right front fetlock joint,' a dejected Fownes said.
'Last week, he had a soreness in one front foot but that was on the left leg and this time it's the right one.
'I rang the owner Peter Law [Kin-sang] straight away and he handled the bad news very well. He just said to me 'do the right thing by the horse' and that's what I always intended to do.
'Peter is a very experienced owner now, he's had horses competing at the top level before and he understands these things can happen.'
While Fownes was disappointed to lose his Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby runner-up for the season, he says the longer term prognosis is good.
'It's nothing really, just a knock or a small sprain and he'll make a complete recovery, I'm sure,' the trainer said.
'The main thing is we caught it early, before he went out to gallop. If he'd galloped or raced with an early-stage fetlock problem, then he could have done some serious damage. 'He's done a terrific job for us so far and even though we miss out on a run in the QEII, his placings in the Derby and the Chairman's Trophy have served to push him up the ratings and basically qualify him for the international races in December,' Fownes said.
'I think he's going to be a better horse in six months' anyway. He's got this far in one long preparation, and he's going to be all the better for a good break now.'
In other QEII news, Olivier Doleuze partnered his mount, Balius, in a turf gallop, running the quickest 400m split of the morning at 22.4 seconds under the supervision of trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, who had just arrived from Paris.
'This is the first time I've sat on this horse and I like him,' Doleuze said. 'He gave me a good feel over the last 400 metres and he was not blowing at all afterwards, so he is very fit.'
Balius will be equipped with a new set of blinkers.
John Moore, back from a frenetic week at the William Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, was happy with what he saw when he inspected his four feature-race runners, but was particularly taken with the way last year's Champions Mile upset winner, Able One, has started to bloom.
'I'm not sure if he will be able to lead and make all like he did last year because he might have Joy And Fun for company,' Moore said.
'But if he is allowed to dictate terms, well, history has a habit of repeating itself. He worked well this morning and pulled up very nicely.'