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Wyong's favourite son Sincero back to his best, warns trainer
12th Oct 2012
Sydney Morning Herald - Chris Roots - Friday, 12 October 2012
IT IS CASE of a man and his horse in Melbourne for Wyong trainer Stephen Farley. The horse is Sincero, a bargain buy which has earned $1.7 million in stakes, and Farley doesn't let him out of his sight.
''These chances don't come along that often and you want to do all you can,'' he said. ''There are not too many horses that you pay $8000 for and win more than $1 million and counting.
''You dream of being down here for the spring carnival and, being here and doing everything, I don't have anyone to blame but myself if I get it wrong. We are a small operation, so instead of having a stablehand down here looking after him, it might as well be me. Then I have a real feel of how he is going.''
Sincero has taken Farley to the highest level of racing, winning a Stradbroke as a three-year-old and the George Main Stakes on his way to the Cox Plate last year, where he ran ninth after finding trouble in the run.
The 2040-metre weight-for-age championship of Australasia is the target again this year and Sincero will step out in tomorrow's Caulfield Stakes, which was weakened when Manighar was ruled out of the spring because of a knee injury yesterday, as part of his Cox Plate preparation. It will be Sincero's fourth attempt at 2000m, a trip he has been unable to run a place over but that is of little concern to Farley.
''He has had excuses each time why he hasn't run up to scratch,'' he said.
''I have always felt he would get the trip and Chris [O'Brien] who rode him a lot says the same thing. Craig Williams, who is a great judge, got off him after the Doncaster said he was looking for 2000m. We can't all be wrong.''
Farley is a lot wiser for his spring adventure last year and decided this time to campaign exclusively in in Melbourne. He and Sincero have been based in the southern capital since the beginning of September, when Sincero won the Memsie Stakes resuming from a spell.
''I have learnt a lot from what I did last year and being here is the way to go rather than making decision over the phone,'' Farley said.
''We made some changes [to his preparation] after getting it wrong in some ways last year. One was to get down here early and let him settle in.
''It worked in the Memsie and things have gone more smoothly than last year since, although we have hit a couple of problems.''
However, a below-par performance second-up in the Underwood Stakes at 1800m begged the same question: can Sincero stay? New Zealand's Ocean Park, which is a $1.45 favourite tomorrow, took home the group 1 that day with Sincero 3½ lengths away in fifth, but Farley remains upbeat.
''I thought Ocean Park was drawn to get the right run and he did and he won,'' Farley said. ''My bloke was a bit flat but he's taken big steps forward since that run. Leading into [the Underwood] he just wasn't himself and he probably ran like that.
''We get Michael Rodd back on him, who won the Memsie on him, and I expect him to very competitive.''