Fawkner Park rises to Caulfield Cup betting level after Q22 win

If bettors thought they wouldn't see a performance as dominant as JJ Atkins' Broadsiding win on Saturday, they were proven wrong after just a few races as Fawkner Park emerged as a rising star in Australian racing.

The Annabel Neasham-trained stayer went from Country Cup champion to million-dollar man after a stunning win in the Group 2 Q22 (2200m) that could be a spring point-of-the-spring.

The European import is looking to follow in the footsteps of his former stablemate Zaaki, as Neasham dreams, with Fawkner Park now the $15 favourite for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup.

It was Neasham's third Q22 win in four years after last year's Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight also won the event last year for Anthony and Sam Freedman.

The five-year-old competed in an Albury Cup just three months ago but is now aiming for the stars after Tyler Schiller rode him like the best stayer in the country.

“I love them all, but I love this horse especially now,” Neasham explained.

“He has a big heart, he has a good step, he walks softly and firmly, and I think we can look forward to a great spring.

“We've seen a lot of horses do well up here and then make big jumps. Hopefully he can step it up a notch now against some of these better horses.

“You would imagine the Caulfield Cup would be a really nice race for him and then we'll see.”

This happened when master trainer Chris Waller spotted a contender for the Group 1 Tattersall's Tiara title in C'est Magique in the Group 2 Dane Ripper (1300m).

The mare had shown mixed form under her former trainer Grahame Begg but exploded on her first start for Waller like a serious Group 1 contender who had no hesitation in putting the final big race of the season on the agenda.

Coolmore purchased C'est Magique, a daughter of Zoustar, from owner and breeder Neville Begg for $1.7 million at the Inglis Chairman's Sale last month.

After being well backed by the bettors, superstar James McDonald shot away halfway down the straight to secure significant betting returns.

“Today was just the appetizer,” Waller explained.

“Coolmore bought the horse and commissioned our team to train it.

“We're just taking over. I spoke to Grahame (Begg) before the race. She's a lovely mare and we weren't sure if she could handle this track – it's pretty tough today.”

Originally published as Fawkner Park turns Q22 into a one-act affair to continue trainer Annabel Neasham's dominance of the race

Anna Harden

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