Vincenzo Peruggia Shining for Svilicich

Tony Svilicich gained considerable notoriety with his unconventional training methods with former star pacer Has The Answers, whose preparation consisted of being chased around a paddock in an old vehicle driven by the veteran horseman.

Few could argue against the Svilicich regime: Has The Answers amassed $1,326,582 in prizemoney from 76 wins and 65 placings from 240 starts.   

Svilicich is now a robust 72-year-old who is enjoying great success with five-year-old Vincenzo Peruggia. He has abandoned his former s unorthodox training methods and says he doesn’t really train the gelding.

“I have been giving him a couple of starts every week  and that keeps him fit,” he says. “This saves me from giving the horse hoppled work. I like my sleep and sleeping in, instead of having to get out of bed early to work the horse.”

Svilicich took over the preparation of Vincenzo Peruggia late last year and has given him 27 starts in the space of 103 days this year, and that’s an average of one run every 3.8 days (or about twice a week). Those 27 starts have produced nine wins (five at Pinjarra and four at Gloucester Park), seven seconds and two thirds.

Cory Peterson has driven Vincenzo Peruggia twice for smart wins at his past two starts and he will be in the sulky again when the gelding starts from the No. 2 barrier in the opening event, the Budget Stockfeeds Pace, over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Svilicich said he was confident that Vincenzo Peruggia would prove hard to beat, but said he had plenty of respect for talented four-year-old King of Swing, whose 15 wins from 28 starts include a victory in the group 1 WA Derby last year.

He added that Vincenzo Peruggia’s prospects would be greatly enhanced if he was able to cross Jing of Swing and dictate terms in front.  “Vincenzo Peruggia is not super quick over the first 30m, but he can then muster plenty of pace,” he said.

Svilicich races Vincenzo Peruggia on lease from Chris Edwards, a prominent poker player. The gelding won on debut at Narrogin as a two-year-old when he was trained by Courtney Burch and was driven by Morgan Woodley. He then had a losing sequence of ten before winning three races in Kalgoorlie in 2016. He has really blossomed with age and under the care of Svilicich.

There is no certainty that either King of Swing or Vincenzo Peruggia will set the pace on Friday night. Thereugo possesses dazzling gate speed and Donald Harper is likely to use this from barrier six in a bid for early ascendancy.