12th August 2023

Classy sprinter Phanta dug deep to hold off a late burst from Comes A Time and claim his second straight feature win in the Belmont Newmarket (1200m) on Saturday.

Starting the $2.35 favourite, the Chris and Michael Gangemi-trained gelding looked set to repeat his explosive Bolton Sprint (1200m) victory when snatching the lead from Excellent Dream early in the straight.

Comes A Time ($21) launched a strong run down the middle of the track from fourth, but Phanta fought on to score by a short neck. Excellent Dream ($20) was a distant third.

Chris Gangemi announced Phanta was likely to bypass the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m) on August 26 and be saved for the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later.

“I think with Valour Road in that next race we’ll probably skip it, but we’ll see how he pulls up and speak to the handicapper to see what he would happen to go to if he went to that,” Gangemi said.

Chris Gangemi praised jockey Brad Parnham for handing up the lead to the speedy Excellent Dream in the early stages of the Belmont Newmarket.

“I’m glad Brad grabbed hold when he did, because it would have been pretty messy and I’m sure he would have got run down,” he said.

“When he first let down I thought he was going to win comfortably, but with 150 to go I thought we were in big trouble.

“But the horse is pretty tough, he’s won a lot of races fighting like that.

“Hopefully we can pick up another one over winter and keep him sound over summer as well.”

The Gangemis won their third Belmont Newmarket in four years after previous success with Saracino (2020) and Samizdat (2021).

Parnham said Phanta lifted when challenged by Comes A Time.

“He felt that other horse coming to him and he dug deep that last 100 and put him away,” Parnham said.

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