Trainer Scott Brunton and Bluegrass Bloodstock (FBAA) stormed the barricades to win the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) with Count Da Vinci on Sunday.
Brunton prepared a career-best five winners at Elwick and he was quick to praise Bluegrass Bloodstock agent Lenny Russo and owner Wayne Notram for buying Count Da Vinci out of New Zealand.
“It’s an incredible thrill,” Brunton beamed after the $200,000 home-town victory. “I missed out a couple of years ago with Banco Mo who was top-class. I thought if I couldn’t win it with him, I might struggle.
“I was a bit sceptical when Count Da Vinci landed here. He had only won a maiden in 17 starts and then he got crook and lost 40kg. Thank God Lenny and Wayne are smart at what they do and he’s turned out to be a real good buy.”
Count Da Vinci (Faltaat) settled perfectly behind front-running stablemate Gladstone and, when David Pires pushed the button, he powered away from even-money favourite Big Duke. It increased his Tasmanian strike-rate to 6 wins in 7 starts since a first-up victory over 1200 metres at Mowbray in October.
Russo has a Group 1 weekend ahead with Malaguerra in the $500,000 C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield this Saturday. They joined the big league last year after a meteoric rise up the ranks for owner Bruno Micalizzi.
Malaguerra (Magnus) cost Russo $32,000 at the 2013 VOBIS Gold Sale. He went from a Benchmark 70 at Ballarat to win the Group 1 BTC Cup at Doomben in a single season and then took centre-stage in last year’s Group 1 Darley Classic at the Flemington.
He returned better than ever when equalling Miss Andretti’s track-record in the G2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley last month in what was an outstanding trial for the Orr Stakes.
Bluegrass Bloodstock bought another Magnus for $130,000 at the 2015 Inglis Premier sale and Russo will be happy if she’s half as good as Malaguerra. Named Magnatti by managing owner Rob Crabtree, she’s going in the right direction after maintaining her unbeaten record at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) was formed in 1988 to maintain, improve and develop the standards, status and services of bloodstock agents throughout Australia. Its members operate with the utmost integrity and professionalism and are bound by the strict Industry Code of Conduct.
The list of FBAA members can be viewed here.