Blinkers go on Fandango in Australian Cup

archie alexander
Trainer Archie Alexander has decided Lord Fandango will wear blinkers in the Australian Cup.

It may not be the grand final for Lord Fandango but trainer Archie Alexander has called on a set of blinkers ahead of the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Staying races in Sydney await after Saturday’s Group One race, but Alexander and connections didn’t want to be heading north off another moderate performance.

A fourth placegetter in the Caulfield Cup last spring, Lord Fandango has had two runs so far this preparation.

He finished third behind Gailo Chop and Harlem in the Carlyon Cup at Caulfield on February 10 before running last in the Peter Young Stakes won by Gailo Chop a fortnight later.

Alexander admitted he was disappointed with Lord Fandango’s effort and opted for the blinkers on Saturday.

“I think it will be very hard for him to win but we felt his work at home was getting a bit complacent,” Alexander said.

“He’s now a five-year-old colt and we felt the blinkers on might just sharpen him up.

“It is a Group One after all and there’s good prize money on offer.

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“He put in a bad one last time, which we know wasn’t really him, but if he put in another bad one you would call it a day on the prep.

“You don’t want to be going to Sydney for a BMW or a Sydney Cup off two bad runs.

“We want to see some form, so that’s why the blinkers go on.”

Alexander said Lord Fandango had been showing more enthusiasm in his work since the blinkers went on.

And he said they will revert to their normal pattern of riding Lord Fandango quietly and letting him finish off.

“This is 2000 metres at weight-for-age but when he gets over more ground under handicap conditions he’ll be more effective,” Alexander said.

“It’s not an easy race with Hartnell, Gailo Chop and Single Gaze but I think he’ll run a good race.”

Gailo Chop will be attempting a third straight win for the campaign and was the $2.70 favourite on Tuesday.

Almandin, one of three runners for Lloyd Williams was second pick at $6 ahead of stablemate The Taj Mahal at $6.50 with Hartnell ($7.50) and Single Gaze ($9).