Signore Outfoxes Rivals In Razor Sharp Finish

Signore Fox wins in a razor sharp finish to claim the Listed Fugen Construction Razor Sharp Handicap (Lisa Grimm)


Turning for home in Saturday’s Listed Fugen Construction Razor Sharp Handicap over 1200m at Royal Randwick, you really didn’t want to be on the favourite, Signore Fox.

The Exceed And Excel 4YO was caught on the fence and spotting the leaders some eight lengths, but would ultimately unleash a withering burst to eventually get up by the barest of margins in a 6-horse blanket.

It was great theatre for the crowd to be sure, but Signore Fox’s owners Joe, Michael and Frank Stambe could well be excused for needing a stiff drink by the time the numbers went up.

Every win is important but particularly so for Signore Fox as he is an entire by Exceed And Excel and, with two stakes wins now under his girth strap – he won the Listed Daybreak Lover in June – the sprinter has well and truly booked a berth in a stallion barn when his racing days are done.

Not everything has gone to plan though. Although the Peter and Paul Snowden trained, Signore Fox, has tallied seven wins and two placings from 20 starts (for $407,535 in stakes) it hasn’t all been smooth sailing this campaign.

Ruing what could have been, Paul Snowden points out: “He (Signore Fox) got balloted out of the ($1 million) The Hunter and got a temp the day prior to the ($7.5 million) Golden Eagle. Still, I definitely think he’s got a nice race in him and can definitely measure up to Group class”.

Just what that will be is currently up in the air as both owners and stable are considering a trip to Queensland or perhaps the spelling paddock, in preparation for a tilt at some rich autumn plums.

Certainly a Group One success would add to what is already a highly lucrative pedigree: Danehill stallion Exceed And Excel has produced 164 stakes winners, while Signore Fox’s mum is the multiple Group winning North American mare, Sharp Susan.

Sharp Susan, in turn, is a half sister to Group One winners Spring At Last and Sharp Lisa, while Sharp Lisa is the dam of Group One winner Foundry and Irish Champion Housesofparliament.

Owned by South Africa’s Drakenstein Stud after being purchased through Badgers Bloodstock for $1,050,000 at the 2012 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale, Sharp Susan is also the dam of the Australian-bred Street Cry mare, Oh Susanna, South Africa’s Horse of the Year in 2017/18.

Indeed, the day Signore Fox won the Daybreak Lover, Oh Susanna won her fifth Group race in the Tibouchina Stakes at Greyville.

It’s worth pointing out though that when the Stambes purchased Signore Fox for $300,000 from the Coolmore Stud draft at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Oh Susanna had had just the one start.

“He (Signore Fox) has well and truly justified our faith in him,” an elated Joe Stambe explains. “We already had him on the short list after looking at the Easter catalogue, while the Snowdens clearly liked him too. What’s more, a very good judge in Jamie Inglis believed he’d make it as a racehorse as well.

“I have to hand it to the Snowdens … whereas you find a lot of trainers are quick to geld the colts, Peter and Paul have incredible patience and, as such, we have a genuine stallion prospect.

“It helps too that Signore Fox is so cool, calm and collected. At the races on Saturday he just kept going to sleep in his box. Terrific temperament.”

Involved in construction and beef farming, the Stambes are based at Liverpool in Sydney’s west and have half a dozen in work with the Snowdens, Gary Portelli and Gwenda Markwell.

“We’ve raced horses for around 20 years and been fortunate to have some very good gallopers, but this fella (Signore Fox) is really starting to get up there,” Stambe enthused. “Hopefully plenty more to come in 2020!”

The Power of Passion