Dabernig’s Mascot headed to Group 1 assignment

Oct 26, 2021

Written by Jackson Frantz for TDN Aus & NZ

Tom Dabernig’s classy mare Flying Mascot (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) is announcing herself as a genuine G1 Empire Rose S. contender.

Flying Mascot’s statement 4.2l victory in last Saturday’s G3 Tesio S. at Moonee Valley marked Dabernig’s first stakes success and city winner since opening shop at Warrnambool in July.

Flying Mascot winning the Group 3 Tesio Stakes at The Valley | Image courtesy of Getty Images

The milestone was reached in rapid time, with Dabernig having saddled up just 12 individual runners across 27 starters since July 20.

Dabernig confirmed Flying Mascot to be in superb order, saying that she has bounced through the Tesio S. and is well-positioned to line up in pursuit of a $1 million bonus for winning an eligible Empire Rose S. lead-up race.

“We’re heading into new territory with her (Flying Mascot) and the slight query is how she handles the week back-up, and if there is still improvement off that win because to me that was a peak run for her,” Dabernig told TDN AusNZ.

“But this preparation she has seemed to go to another level and has improved with every run, she’s going into the race fourth-up and that gives me confidence that she can measure up.”

“She (Flying Mascot) has seemed to go to another level and has improved with every run, she’s going into the race fourth-up and that gives me confidence that she can measure up.” – Tom Dabernig

Flying Mascot contested her first six starts under the Lindsay Park banner, winning on two occasions and running second in a $135,000 3-year-old handicap before failing to fire in the G3 Auraria S. and the G1 Australasian Oaks.

“As a 3-year-old she (Flying Mascot) was quite delicate and immature and ‘while she showed ability’ going to Adelaide might’ve come all too soon,” Dabernig said.

“Last preparation we struggled to keep the condition on her but this prep she’s really started to furnish, she’s typical of a late-maturing horse who could be even better again in six to 12 months’ time.”

Managed by Flying Start Syndications, Flying Mascot was purchased for $25,000 by the Cameron Bennett-run operation in partnership with Pinhook Bloodstock at the 2019 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale where she was offered by Alexia Fraser Bloodstock.

Dabernig is grateful to continue his association with Bennett after sharing in stakes success with Amphitrite (Sebring) when at Lindsay Park.

“Cameron can see the benefits of training in Warrnambool and he’s a big believer in the environment for the horses and we’re thrilled to be training for them,” Dabernig said.

“For a mare like this, who was a relatively cheap horse to now be worth a small fortune shows how he can find one for value, and he’s active at almost all major sales which makes them good people to be involved with.”

“For a mare like this, who was a relatively cheap horse to now be worth a small fortune shows how he (Cameron Bennett) can find one for value.” – Tom Dabernig

Bred by Finemore Thoroughbreds, Flying Mascot is out of Zabeel (NZ) mare Lucky Mascot (NZ), thus making her a half-sister to Listed Cinderella S. winner Koala Bear (Exceed And Excel).

Lucky Mascot herself is out of G2 Villiers S. winner Arletty (NZ) (Centaine).

This is the family of dual Group 1 winner turned Newhaven Park stallion Xtravagant (NZ).

Wonderful week awaits

Dabernig is likely to be represented by a further three runners across the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival, a significant feat considering he currently has just 15 horses in work.

Energy Within (Toronado {Ire}), a winner of four career starts, could contest the G3 Hong Kong Jockey Club S. on Melbourne Cup Day after training on since her ninth-placed performance in the Listed Black Pearl S. on Geelong Cup Day.

Lightly raced, Gerry Ryan-owned 3-year-old Spinning (Pierro) is set to contest the Listed Red Roses S. on Oaks Day while Lunatic Fringe (Fiorente {Ire}), a winner of her past three starts is headed to a BM80 H. over 2000 metres on Stakes Day

“At this stage we’re likely to have the four runners across the four days which would be a good effort by all our team considering the small amount we have in work,” Dabernig said.

The Ryan factor

Dabernig confirmed G1 Australian Cup hero and former Lindsay Park stalwart Fifty Stars (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) has been retired following three lacklustre starts for this spring. His ownership are now weighing up stud options.

The initial decision for the 7-year-old entire to follow Dabernig to Warrnambool bodes well for the future.

“Gerry loves the Warrnambool area for training horses and when I said that I was going out on my own he said to me, ‘if you move to Warrnambool, I’ll give you a few extra horses’,” Dabernig said.

“So, it was one of the reasons why I looked into Warrnambool a lot more than other places.”

The road ahead

Dabernig has no plans to grow his business into a large-scale operation, saying that the desire to be more hands-on led him to depart Lindsay Park.

He is currently in the process of building a 36-box complex on course at the Warrnambool racecourse.

“When I was there, we had 180-plus horses in work, which was a great experience, but I purposely wanted to be that smaller to mid-sized trainer who can be more hands-on,” Dabernig said.

“I purposely wanted to be that smaller to mid-sized trainer who can be more hands-on.” – Tom Dabernig

“It was for a range of reasons, more so the horses but also for the owners it’s a better way of doing it at least in the short term as we get started.”

Dabernig will play an active part in next year’s yearling sales, saying that he is eager to complement his contingent of tried horses.

“I’ve been keeping a keen eye on the tried horses from New Zealand as Warrnambool is a great place for older horses or racehorses who mightn’t have suited a city environment,” he said.

“But because last year I didn’t get a chance to buy yearlings, I’ve got a team that lacks 2-year-olds for this year, so I need to build those numbers and will try to buy some and continue to grow that way.”