Phoenix Hero Schillaci Ready To Rise Again

IT’S fair to say that 2024 hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for trainer Jihad Talgi with his The Phoenix hero Schillaci, so far anyway.

IT'S fair to say 2024 hasn't gone according to plan for Jihad Talgi with his The Phoenix hero Schillaci, so far anyway.

After a stunning upset in the world's richest race at The Meadows last December, Schillaci has raced only ten times this year and has been winless, albeit he's finished second on four occasions, including the G1 Australian Cup.

The son of Hard Style Rico and Flying Hareeba, which turned three last month, was last seen in action at Angle Park on April 18, finishing fifth as favourite in a heat of the Anniversary Cup.

The four-time G1 finalist hasn't raced since due to a broken toe, but a return to the track is imminent.

"He broke the little toe on his right front leg about nine weeks ago in a free gallop," Pearcedale owner/trainer/breeder Jihad Talgi explained.

"The cast has been off for six weeks and I had him x-rayed three weeks ago, but Des Fegan (vet) wasn't really that happy and said to bring him back in another three weeks.

"I'm taking him back to Des tomorrow (Friday) for another x-ray and if everything is okay we'll get him going again.

"If I get the all-clear I'll just hang back for another week to be on the safe side.

"He'll free gallop for a couple of weeks before I trial him. I'll probably trial him over the short at Shepparton, because he loves it there, and then take it from there."

Talgi admits it's been a frustrating period with his homegrown pride and joy watching from the sidelines.

"It breaks my heart to see him sitting in his kennel doing nothing," he said.

"Especially a dog with his ability.

"The interest in him is incredible. I've had so many people asking me where he's up to and why he hasn't been racing.

"The dog is fine. He's bouncing up and down and rearing to go.

"If everything goes smoothly from here, he should return to racing within the next six weeks and I'll focus on getting him ready for the Adelaide Cup again (heats October 3)."

It was in Adelaide last spring that Schillaci rocketed to stardom, brilliantly winning the G3 SA Derby and starting favourite in the G1 Adelaide Cup Final when finishing seventh from box five.

But there's absolutely no doubt what Schillaci's main target will be.

"I'd love to get another invite for The Phoenix!" Talgi said.

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