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Plenty of bite in Fanatic for Te Rapa feature

Fanatic's leg following the spider bite which forced her scratching from the Caulfield Cup
Fanatic's leg following the spider bite which forced her scratching from the Caulfield Cup

Graeme Sanders has the photographic evidence of a nasty spider bite wound that caused swelling to Fanatic's lower leg and led to the abandonment of her spring Cups campaign in Melbourne.

It's a trip souvenir he'd rather not have but the Te Awamutu trainer is hoping a bold performance from his Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks winner in Saturday's Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa will help ease his own pain from the ordeal.

"I've got the photo on my cellphone. The vet took the hair off her just below her fetlock and you can clearly see the spider bite," Sanders said.

"Her leg just blew up - there was swelling and soreness - it was a pretty painful thing to happen to her. She lost a lot of weight, about 25 kilos."

The spider bite came the week of the A$2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) and forced Fanatic's scratching from the race.

After initially recovering in Melbourne, Fanatic returned to Sanders' stable at Te Awamutu before spending 10 days at Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore property.

"She's been back in work since then and she's doing well. She's put on a lot of weight and she looks good. We're really happy with her," said Sanders, who trains in partnership with his daughter Debbie Sweeney.

"She needs to race because we want to have her ready for the City Of Auckland Cup. She perhaps needs to race next week as well. We'll decide that after we see how she goes on Saturday."

Bred and raced by South Taranaki dairy farmer Sean Kiernan, the four-year-old mare has won twice in 14 starts but, according to Sanders, she won't be at her best until she gets past 2200m.

"She was ready to go 2400m when she got that spider bite so she's pretty forward for 1600m this weekend," he said.

"We've checked her out and there doesn't seem to be any ongoing issue. Her blood's all good and we think she'll go a nice race. We just want to see her get to the outside and run home well. If that happens, then she's a chance of running in the first four.

"Staying is her forte and we're looking to get her up in trip but she still needs to go a good race." - NZ Racing Desk.


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