Celeris and Grant Cooksley near home. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Veterinarian and former jockey Leo Molloy had the perfect start to his training career when Celeris (5 B. M. Fusaichi Pegasus – Cuphill, by Danehill) staged an enormous fresh-up performance to win the North Harbour Hyundai Rating 80 over 1200-metres at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Known to many in the racing fraternity, Molloy was surrounded by well-wishers offering their congratulations on a remarkable feat – a winner with his first runner.
Having impressed winning over 1200m on good ground at Ellerslie in January 2009, Celeris was retired with injury to her fetlocks and pasterns with a record of two wins, two seconds and a third from only six starts when trained by Roger James.
Off a spell of 300-days, Celeris was the slowest to leave the barriers in a field of fourteen before rocketing around to lead. Once there she travelled sweetly for rider Grant Cooksley before straightening with a buffer while still held and although getting tired near the line she had the necessary reserves.
Her winning margin was a neck, over talented mare Her Royal Highness (Volksraad), also resuming from a spell, with a nose to Major Rio (Captain Rio) in third.
The time for the 1200m was 1:10.02, last 600m 34.52, while being solidly supported on the tote to return $4.80 & $2.30.
Molloy said, “After that hard race today it will be a long time before she races again. She has bad joints and she’s a day to day proposition while that would be mentally hard on her. That’s a tough race for her and she’ll have a month off now. Then we’ll put her on the water walker for a couple of days and when she tells me she’s ready to do something I’ll start again on her.”
“She’s got significant osteoarthritis changes in her fetlocks, P1 and P2, which are so chronic and degenerative that she had to be retired. We’ve got a lot of equipment we can use, but we also use a prophylactic and pharmaceutical regime to help her.”
“She’s a lovely horse, exciting to train too because she gives you such a profile and everyone knows her. She’s a quality horse.”
Molloy, who rode in excess of 160 winners said he began training at the start of this season, in August, more for his “heart and edification”, rather than anything else.
Celeris is owned by D J Brady, A C Montgomery, D E & E Y Nakhle.
Molloy said, “It’s a privilege to train her and there wouldn’t be too many first time trainers who would be given a horse of this quality, so it’s special.”
With sixteen horses in work at Byerley Park, Karaka, and a history steeped in the thoroughbred industry both internationally and domestically, Molloy has what it takes to continue making a name for himself within the competitive New Zealand training ranks.
Leo Molloy (black shirt) and winning connections