Fontiton impressive on debut in Inglis Banner

The two-year-old features are still more than four months away, but Fontiton announced herself one of the early contenders for the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper with a sensational debut victory at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.

The Robert Smerdon-trained filly scored a scintillating victory in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m).

The daughter of Turffontein demonstrated brilliant early speed, capped by an invaluable ability to accelerate when the race got serious to score a runaway win.

It was particularly exciting for Smerdon and the team that race Fontiton – which includes Victor Ognenovski, who won a 10 percent share via an Inglis promotion – given the race was never initially on their agenda.

“She came into training simply to have a bit of education and develop and then go back to the paddock, but everything we did with her she just handled so well,” Smerdon said. “She’s got an old horse’s attitude.

“So we thought we’d progress on and give her a jumpout, and she was impressive there, so we thought we’d give her an official trial and if we were happy and she came through that we’d go the races, so here we are.”

Fontiton, a $110,000 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale purchase, romped home by six lengths as the $3 favourite. That was despite not being knocked around by jockey Mark Zahra over the concluding stages.

Queensland visitor Hot Snippety ($5.50) led home the chasing pack, a half-neck in advance of Braccenby ($17), who worked home stylishly.

“I barely went for her,” Zahra said post-race. “I just got her out and running then brought her back to a comfortable tempo.

“I heard Zac (Purton, on Hot Snippety) come off the bit on the turn and I thought he was the hardest to beat, so I gave her a little shake up, checked the big screen and shut her down.

“She was pretty good. When they win their first start they (still) have to go on with it, but you don’t get more impressive than that.”

Given the impressive nature of the victory, Smerdon said chance to progress to the $150,000 Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on 8 November.