VICTORIA’S lucrative Country Cup Circuit will remain the priority with Phoenix Prince.
Winner of Geelong’s flagship event last night, Phoenix Prince will be given a “few light days” before being readied for the Cranbourne Cup in a fortnight.
The son of Somebeachsomewhere will then enjoy an easy Christmas before tackling the Bendigo Cup on January 3.
“We’ll keep aiming him at the Cups,” trainer Emma Stewart said. “He will have a few light days now then it’s off to Cranbourne.
“The Bendigo Cup early in the New Year is also what we are looking at.
“After that there are plenty of options for him, including Shepparton, Ballarat, South Australia, the Casey Classic and even the Hunter Cup.
“He can’t go in them all so we’ll just pick the right targets when the time comes.”
Driven a treat by Kate Gath, Phoenix Prince began quickly from barrier seven to be settled two-back along the pegs as Jilliby Chevy led from gate six.
Masterfully weaved through traffic along the home straight, Phoenix Prince grabbed the front in the last stride to score by a neck from his stablemate Code Black.
Tam Major completed a Stewart-trained trifecta when a neck away third.
“It was a terrific run from him,” Stewart said. “In fact, all three did really well.
“It was a great result for the stable and our owners.”
Rating 1:56.5 for the 2570-metre trip Phoenix Prince sliced a tenth of a second from It Is Billy’s track record established in the 2016 Cup.
The gelding’s success also completed a feature double for Gath, who captured the Trotters’ Cup earlier in the evening.
Combining with her trainer-husband Andy, Gath was triumphant with War Spirit.
Beginning well from his 10-metre mark War Spirit gained the run of the race behind the leader, Jerichos Trumpet.
Angled away from the pegs leaving the back stretch, the son of Monarchy finished stoutly down the middle of the straight to account for Desert Flyer and Jerichos Trumpet.
Setting a track record 2:02.4 over 2570 metres, War Spirit was the opening leg of a training double for Andy, who prepared Miss Hartley to secure the following event.
Also driven by Gath, Miss Hartley led throughout to score from Nancys Boy and Shes Fine in 1:57.4 over a mile.