While it may have taken two years for enigmatic galloper Frankie The Fox (NZ) (Ego) to make a return to the winner’s enclosure at Riccarton, trainer Mike McCann never lost faith in his charge.
A winner on debut as a three-year-old on his home track at Riccarton, the now six-year-old son of Ego had proved to be a consistent performer for McCann in his early days, winning five of his first 17 starts before hitting a drought that saw him go winless since taking out a rating 85 1400m event back in June 2020.
McCann persevered with the bargain basement buy that cost him just $500 during the 2017 Festival Yearling Sale at Karaka and had his faith rewarded as regular pilot Rohan Mudhoo pushed him to the front halfway down the Riccarton home straight on Saturday to bring up career win number six.
“He has had a few problems along the way and I was starting to worry he might be over the whole racing game however he had shown signs lately that he might be on his way back,” McCann said.
“He is a horse who can be a real handful at home, very niggly with a bit of dirt in him, but he normally gives his all when he is in a race.
“The track just suited him perfectly on Saturday and when he got handy on the corner, I thought we were in with a shout.
“He has been pretty unlucky at times and probably should have won a few more, but he has also had to lump some big weights at the top of his grade which hasn’t helped.
“Now he has won I hope it can give him some confidence for the rest of this campaign.”
McCann has his eye on some of the supporting races on his home patch during the upcoming Grand National carnival in early August along with a long-term goal later in the summer.
“He isn’t a Winter Cup type so that’s not a race for him but there are some good supporting races over the week there that he can contest,” he said.
“We’ll just carry on during the winter with him as I do have a plan to try and win the Kumara Gold Nuggets (1810m) in the summer.
“It’s a race I have always wanted to win and if he can maintain his form, I think this guy would be as good a chance as any to do the job for me.
“No matter what happens he has been a pretty good buy as I only paid $500 for him at Karaka and he has now won over $85,000.
“He just caught my eye walking past me as he headed to the auction ring that day, so I said to my wife to wait for me as I was going to have a bid on him.
“I only bid once and got him for $500 so things have worked out pretty well for us on this one.”