MORNINGTON-based trainers David and Coral Feek have continued their successful raid on Sydney racing with their gutsy gelding I Am Vinnie.
Bringing up his third victory at Randwick and remaining unbeaten in New South Wales, I Am Vinnie proved too good for his opposition to win the $125,000 Fujitsu General Handicap (1400m) by a length on Saturday 12 December.
Despite being pocketed with 300m to run, jockey Jake Noonan navigated a clear passage aboard the gelding to overhaul his rivals and skip away to score a one length victory over the Kris Lees-trained Juventus.
Co-trainer David Feek said he was thrilled to see their plan pay off.
“He went to Ballarat [two starts ago] and ran what was probably a career best and yesterday he was just beyond belief. The application of the blinkers this prep and targeting the race has worked wonders,” he said.
While I Am Vinnie has clearly thrived with competing in Sydney, Feek said that there hasn’t been anything obvious in his work at home that would suggest it.
“The stats don’t lie but there’s nothing physically or mentally at home that suggests he should run better going that way. He did well at Eagle Farm and that’s right-handed so perhaps the travel stimulates him, and I think Randwick is such a great, fair track,” he said.
Feek said the victory on Saturday was extra special for connections.
“Louise Mancinelli (owner) has put the whole group together and unfortunately she lost her brother Troy, who was in his mid-40s, about three or four months ago after battling cancer. If we’re superstitious then perhaps Troy was with Jake and with Vinnie on Saturday. It was particularly pleasing to secure the win for the ownership group,” Feek added.
Jockey Jake Noonan, who rode another winner on Sunday for his father Tony, couldn’t have been happier to secure a third victory aboard I Am Vinnie in Sydney.
“What a fantastic story for not only myself but David, Coral and the staff and the owners,” he said. “There would’ve been about 20 people from Melbourne that flew up to follow him, as they do every start. He’s got an impeccable record there. He’s been a great horse for me. He’s just a real warrior and when you need him, he’s always there to count on. It was a fantastic day. We weren’t in until the last at 6:20pm so there was a long think about it but it’s great to be rewarded.”
I Am Vinnie’s record now stands at seven wins and seven placings from 30 starts. He has amassed just over $300,000 in prizemoney.