Fender breaks through in Furphy Stakes

The Brett Cavanough-trained Fender was guided to victory by Nash Rawiller in the $175,000 Furphy Stakes at Royal Randwick on Tuesday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Scone galloper Fender is as consistent as any owner would like, with the Brett Cavanough-trained six-year-old boasting a good record of 25 starts for seven wins and five placings, earning connections well over $600,000 in prizemoney. 

Despite his good recent run of form, which includes a third placing behind Front Page in The Kosciuszko last month, and a third placing behind Ranges in the Ramornie back in July, the six-year-old won his first race in 549 days on Tuesday when taking out the country-only $175,000 Furphy Stakes over the 1300m journey at Royal Randwick.

Ridden by Nash Rawiller, the pair sprung out of gate 11 in front but settled into fourth position back on the rails as Xtra Approval (Jeff Penza) set a good pace.

Rawiller then peeled out three wide when taking the split between Bugalugs (Zac Lloyd) and Far Too Easy (James Orman), which allowed Fender ($8) to explode away for a strong 0.84 of a length victory from the Matt Dale-trained Cavalier Charles (Tyler Schiller, $3.30) in second and the Jean Dubois-trained Julian Rock (Alysha Collett, $21) in third. 

Cavanough praised Rawiller on what was a good ride.  

“The stewards rang me and asked me where we were going to ride him, and I said not too far back,” Cavanough said. 

“I said to Nash, ‘he is fit and goes forward and just ride him’ and he managed to get a sit in behind the speed, and it worked out well.”

Fender has gone close to winning some nice races during his career and when asked what the secret was to his recent success, Cavanough believes the Toronado gelding is simply maturing into a nice galloper. 

“He’s run two thirds in the Ramornie, he’s Stakes placed twice, and he went to Melbourne and just got beat over the (Melbourne) Cup carnival, and he went to Brisbane and ran fourth or fifth in a Group 2,” Cavanough said. 

“He keeps on hanging round and hanging around, and maybe I was a bit hard on him early on, but I’ve learned a bit, and he is more mature and cops it a bit better.

Nash Rawiller returns as a winner aboard Fender after their victory in Tuesday’s Furphy Stakes. Photo: Bradley Photos.

“He is turning into a really nice horse, and he’s won $300,000 in his last two starts, which isn’t too bad.”

It was a good day for country horses at Royal Randwick on Tuesday, with the $175,000 Furphy Stakes and $125,000 TAB Highway offering country participants a guaranteed $300,000 in prizemoney, while the Keith Dryden-trained Dream Runner won the $500,000 Little Dance.

While Fender is Victorian owned, Cavanough said the good prizemoney is the main reason his galloper continued to race in NSW this preparation.

“My horse would be in Melbourne if it wasn’t for the money,” Cavanough said. 

“Every day of the week he would have been there because he is owned by Victorians and they are VRC (Victorian Racing Club) members, but they said bugger it, keep him in Sydney and chase the good money.”

Fender will likely be nominated for the $1 million The Hunter at Newcastle on November 12, but Cavanough was yet to decide if he would start in the race. 

“It’s 50/50 whether he does go to the paddock or whether we choose to go to the Hunter,” Cavanough said. 

“It might be a bridge too far. There is a 108-rater in it, and he is a 93-rater today. We honestly don’t know what we will do.”

For the Furphy Stakes and other results from Royal Randwick on Tuesday, readers can click here.