Newmarket to Fannie Bay for former Highclere standardbearer

There’s a substantial chasm between competing on the manicured turf track of Newmarket in England and the unique racing surface of Fannie Bay in Darwin, but one horse will be attempting to bridge the considerable gap this afternoon.

Foundation, a well-travelled son of Zoffany (USA) that once sported the silks of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing organisation, lines-up for his first start for the Michael Hickmott stable in the $60,000 Asian United Food Service Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) in Darwin after changing ownership in more recent time.

Today’s assignment for Foundation is a very long way from where the 5-year-old gelding commenced his racing career in 2015 no matter which way you look at the journey.

Originally trained by master horseman John Gosden in the UK, Foundation rapidly emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting juvenile prospects with victory in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at just his third race start, before a very respectable minor placing in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy as an odds-on favourite.

Foundation resumed his career as a 3-year-old regarded as a genuine Derby contender and contested the Group 2 York Dante Stakes for a close-up third, before taking his place in the Prix du Jockey Club in which he finished a tailed-off last. 

After another three unsuccessful starts in England, Foundation was transferred into the care of the Hayes-Hayes-Dabering team for a sequence of indifferent performances in this corner of the globe.

Though Foundation has only been able to finish in the money on one occasion since his arrival Down Under, there has been small glimpses of his high-class overseas form.

On one occasion in a 2000-metre event at Moonee Valley just last September, Foundation looked an absolute certainty beaten when finishing an unlucky eighth of 14 beaten a length and three-quarters.

If returning to anything like that level of performance, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a horse with distinguished Pattern Race efforts at racecourses such as Newmarket, Doncaster and York could be making his presence felt at Fannie Bay for a new set of connections.

HOOFNOTE: Unfortunately, the change of racing surface didn't bring Foundation a change of luck. The well-credentialed import raced towards the tail of the field from the off and failed to make any sort of impression thereafter. Never really wanted in the market at any stage of betting, Foundation came home ninth of 10 runners.