Luca and Sara Cumani’s Fittocks Stud enjoyed a banner weekend across the Atlantic when two of its graduates, Fantasia and Cheetah, won Grade 3 contests in the US. Both had previously been trained by Cumani at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket.
Fantasia, who made a memorable winning debut during a thunderstorm at the July Festival three years ago, was bred by Ronchalon Racing UK and raised at Fittocks. She started life racing in the stud’s colours before being sold to George Strawbridge.
As a two-year-old, she also won the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood before finishing runner-up to Strawbridge’s Rainbow View in the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot. The following year she ran away with the Leslie Harrison Memorial Nell Gwyn Stakes and went on to finish third in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Switched to the US last season, Fantasia has made the frame in her last three starts prior to Saturday’s win – in the Jenny Wiley Stakes, Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (both Grade 2) and the Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes – and then stepped up to ten furlongs at Arlington Park for her length victory in the Modesty Handicap.
As a daughter of Sadler’s Wells out of a Darshaan mare, Fantasia already boasts excellent broodmare credentials and her current run of good form can only enhance her appeal. Her dam Blue Symphony, out of the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Blue Duster, has bred three winners to date, and another surely won’t be long in coming, as her Pivotal three-year-old, named Kilbirnie and in training with John Oxx, was runner-up on his only start to date. Her two-year-old by Nayef fetched 525,000gns at last year’s yearling sales and is now in training with Roger Varian for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
“It’s been a very exciting week for Fittocks,” said Sara Cumani on Sunday while watching another of the stable’s former charges, Purple Moon, land championship honours at a show for retrained racehorses at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket.
“It was wonderful to see Fantasia and Cheetah both win in America on the same day and Submission won on Thursday, while Impasssive, a two-year-old we bred, won last weekend.”
Blue Symphony is now owned by the Cumanis, having been bought as part of a package from Ronchalon Racing along with Fantasia and her Montjeu half-sister Pink Symphony in 2007.
“Fantasia was raised at Fittocks and we’re very excited about Blue Symphony’s Galileo yearling filly, who goes to the October Sale at Tattersalls. She [the mare] also has a filly foal by Pivotal and is back in foal to Galileo,” added Mrs Cumani.
Cheetah, a year younger than Fantasia, is a sleek grey daughter of Tiger Hill from the family of 1988 Derby winner Kahyasi. Her most notable British performance came when winning the Listed Wildflower Stakes at Kempton just three days before she appeared in the ring at Tattersalls December Sales.
Having been bought for 180,000gns by Australian Bob Scarborough, it would have been easy to imagine a Melbourne Cup campaign being plotted for the stoutly-bred Cheetah, but she was sent instead to America, to the stable of Cumani’s former assistant trainer, Christophe Clement.
“If she hadn’t sold, we were planning to send her to Christophe anyway,” said Sara Cumani. “I believe she’s now being aimed at the Beverly D Stakes.”
Cheetah’s dam Kassiyra, by Kendor, has a yearling colt by Rock Of Gibraltar, who is being retained by the breeders, and she is currently in foal to Duke Of Marmalade.