Lici's Pepsi yet to show her true worth — Patrick Fong

Observer writer

Friday, January 12, 2018

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Veteran trainer Patrick Fong is of the view, especially following Lici's Pepsi's commanding victory at the races last Saturday, that his good — looking three-year-old dark bay filly is yet to show her true worth.

The Blue Pepsi Lodge offspring raced three times prior to Saturday, finishing second, third and third, respectively.

Then came Saturday and jockey Shane Ellis made no mistake, as Lici's Pepsi won by over four lengths in a maiden condition race for native-bred three-year-old fillies over six-and-a-half furlongs (1,300m).

Ellis had Lici's Pepsi racing in third position behind Princess Zella (Dane Nelson) and Mrs Kim (Wesley Henry), before going by the latter on the inside rails approaching the final bend.

Still on the inside rails turning for home, Lici's Pepsi joined Princess Zella for a brief moment and then accelerated a furlong and a half (300m) out, going on to win easily. Giaconda (Dick Cardenas) came on well for second money ahead of Free Marie (Robert Stewart) in third. The race ended in a time of 1:20.3, with splits of 23.3, 47.2 and 1:13.0.

Lici's Pepsi ran three races before this and she ran well, but I was aware that she was not at her best as yet. She isn't even now either. But after the first three runs, I became aware that she would be a better horse when she raced the next time. I finally opted to use one of the top jockeys, Shane Ellis, [for this race]. I was therefore looking forward to this win with all my heart.

“I got it and it opened my winning account for this year. I thought that it would have happened before, but that's how it goes sometimes in racing. The hardest thing in racing is to win,” Fong emphasised.

When asked what we can expect from this filly with the three-year-old Classic season replete with expectations, Fong said: “She seems to me to have good ability, but before I can say anything meaningful, I have to have a talk with the jockey [Ellis]. And as I said, I know that she has some ability, but I cannot say until I talk with Ellis as he is a good judge of horses.”

Fong went on to explain that Ellis “is like a teacher”. His evaluation is instructive and a good guide upon which one can begin to mount a plan for development and to streamline one's approach. “Ellis is a teacher in racing. You can ask him anything about the sport and he will enlighten you, whether it is up or down,” Fong candidly offered.




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