Randwick: A chat with Bart Cummings has Brett Lazzarini dreaming big with $301 Melbourne Cup aspirant Fiorzana

The origins of one of this year’s more unlikely Melbourne Cup bids can be traced back to a nondescript coffee break more than three decades ago.

On one side on the table sits the greatest ever trainer in the history of Australia’s famous two-mile race.

On the other sat a young foreman and trackwork rider still learning his craft.

“I was foreman for Doc Chapman at the time,” Kembla Grange trainer Brett Lazzarini, recalls.

“A mate who worked for Bart Cummings would call me up from time to time when they wanted to gallop a couple together and we all ended up sitting down for a coffee after it.


“I just picked his brain over everything. He was a lovely bloke.

“He said to me there are only 10 horses in every 10,000 or so that can run two miles so if you’ve got one you give it a chance.

“He’d nominate horses for the Melbourne Cup that hadn’t won a maiden.”

History tells you Cummings knew what he was talking about more than most, claiming a record 12 Cups before his passing in 2015, and that conversation unsurprisingly stuck with Lazzarini.

It’s partly why the affable horseman – who reapplied for his trainers’ licence in 2020 after 23 years away from the sport – has rolled the dice and included his unheralded stayer Fiorzana among 174 Melbourne Cup nominations this year.

Fiorzana is the daughter of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente. Picture: APSource:AP

The mare is rated a $301 outsider with TAB fixed odds for the Melbourne Cup and while Lazzarini knows she still has a long way to go before putting herself in serious contention, he sees no reason why to not chase a dream with Cummings’ advice still ringing in his ears.

Like many locals, Lazzarini will try to capitalise on a lack of internationals in the 2021 edition and he knows one thing is for sure about his daughter of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente – she can stay.

“She could run 24 miles,” Lazzarini said.

“She is by Fiorente out of a Zabeel mare so she will stay all day.

“If I am honest, she probably can’t win a Melbourne Cup but it would be such a thrill to get her there and I said to the owners we may as well pay the fee now instead of being forced to pay it later on.

“Being the year it is with less internationals, it could be a year where we might as well try our luck.”

Fiorzana will look to take the first significant step towards that lofty ambition at Randwick on Saturday.

The five-year-old is coming to town for the first time to contest the Cliff Clare Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) after a last-start third behind Pecuniary Interest at Kembla Grange on August 1.

“I had my eye on a race in three weeks time but there are just no races in between for her so I thought I would throw her in the deep end,” Lazzarini said.

“Because of her handicap, she gets in well at the weights with 52kg on her back and the thing of Sargent’s (Pecuniary Interest) that beat her the other day is in this.

“They are better horses than she is used to going up against but it should keep her topped up for the race in a few weeks time.”

Fiorzana is a $126 outsider for Saturday’s event where she will be ridden by Jay Ford.

Originally published asHow Bart inspired an unlikely Melbourne Cup tilt

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