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Wet to give Fiumicino a much-needed edge
Warwick Barr and Mathew Toogood
21:31 AEST Fri May 24 2013

The horse who has earned most of his $3 million in prize money in the wet will be relying on the same conditions to help save his career in the WJ McKell Cup at Randwick.

Veteran stayer Fiumicino has been put on notice by the trainer who has guided him to Australian Derby and BMW victories and Saturday's Listed event is a crossroads race.

John Hawkes concedes the rising 10-year-old could become the latest in a long line of Group One horses who have retired in recent months if he can't fire on Saturday.

"He's getting near the end," Hawkes said.

"If he doesn't perform well on Saturday we'll think about things."

As the Randwick course proper fell well into the heavy range on Friday, Fiumicino's stocks have clearly risen on the strength of three wins in the worst-possible going.

Fiumicino banked $1.2 million for his Australian Derby win on a heavy track at Randwick in 2007 and two years later he added another $1.2 million with his BMW victory on the same surface.

The gelding is easily the best-performed wet-tracker in the McKell Cup but his quote as the $15 second outsider in the field of seven confirms his struggles since winning a 2200m race at Warwick Farm in December.

He has finished rearward in two runs since a let-up but a proper analysis of his last-start Lord Mayors Cup run could find some merit in a seven-length defeat because he was posted on a limb for the entire 2000m.

Trainer David Hayes is confident - but with a serious reservation - about the chances of Motivado, the $3 favourite to make it successive Australian wins in the McKell.

Motivado couldn't figure in two heavy track runs in England and Hayes has his concerns.

"His form on heavy doesn't read well but if he handles the ground, I'm really happy with him and I think he can win," Hayes said.

"I'm just not sure about the ground (but) he's improved from Adelaide."

Hayes said the idea of running in the McKell Cup was to improve the stayer's chances of making the Melbourne Cup field by taking advantage of new ballot conditions for Australia's richest race.