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  • Provincial Racing NSW


WEATHER permitting, Hungarian import Esti Feny on Saturday will attempt to become the first horse in more than 50 years to officially win back to back Gosford Gold Cups.

And he’s got the same jockey Jay Ford back in the saddle for this weekend’s record $300,000 purse.

With Ford aboard, the now nine-year-old gelding carried 53kg and started at $31 when he defeated Navajo Peak and Bois D’Argent in last year’s Listed 2100m feature to clinch his first victory in Australia.

Dark Diamond in 1971-72 was the last horse to win consecutive Gosford Gold Cups.

More recently, Midsummer Sun also scored in 2014 and 2015, but was disqualified from the latter after returning a positive swab, and Oriental Lady was declared the winner.

Esti Feny has an extra 1.5kg this time, but goes into the Cup in much better form than last year.

Whereas he had come off an unplaced run in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1500m) at Hawkesbury’s Saturday stand-alone meeting, Esti Feny is a last start winner of the $300,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on April 20, also at $31.

Trainer Matt Smith says the gelding is most likely the only Hungarian horse to be racing in Australia.

“We had seen him racing in Hungary and Germany (he won six races, including the 2400m Hungarian Derby in 2018), and took a punt on him,” he said early Tuesday evening.

“Esti Feny is a good horse but has had some issues, and it’s been very pleasing to win both the Gosford and Mornington Cups with him.

“He is fine at present as his Mornington victory shows, but I’m wary of how the track will be at Gosford if the races go ahead there.

“It was a ‘Soft 5’ at Mornington, but his previous wins were all on good ground.

“We definitely don’t want a heavy track.”

Smith has been preparing Esti Feny for his Gosford Cup double tilt at his Luskin Park property at Luskintyre in the Lower Hunter Valley.

“He went to Luskin Park when he came back from Victoria,” Smith said.

“We have permission (from Newcastle Jockey Club) to take horses from Luskin Park for fast work at Broadmeadow, and we’re also starting to race horses from the property.

“It’s been a big asset, and will only get better.”

Prior to Wednesday morning acceptances, Esti Feny was a $15 Cup chance with

Last start Royal Randwick Group 3 JRA Plate runner-up Goldman ($3.50) and third placegetter Hezashocka ($5) headed betting, with Annabel Neasham’s pair Naval College ($7) and Bois D’Argent ($8) next.

Whereas Smith doesn’t want any more rain, it’s a different story altogether with Esti Feny’s stablemate Astero, who lines up in the $250,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Gosford.

“He likes the wet, and is going well,” Smith said.

Astero has won three races and been placed twice from seven starts on heavy ground, and is also a soft track winner.

Story John Curtis, May 7, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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