Too good, Celeris beats Stupendous, and O'Cartier in the listed Levin Stakes. www.raceimages.co.nz
After racing in a professional manner, Celeris (5 B. M. Fusaichi Pegasus – Cuphill, by Danehill) gained a richly-deserved black type victory in the $45,000, Listed, Chainey’s Panasonic Levin Stakes (1200m) at Otaki on Friday.
Swift to clear the gates, Celeris was able to relax in second position outside the leader, Pesciolini (Bertolini), and her prospects brightened further when rider Mark Du Plessis took a confident peep over his shoulder at the 300m.
She kicked clear when asked to extend a furlong out and the big, powerful mare had the race in safe keeping from that point on.
The winner of the corresponding race last year, Stupendous (Pentire), came off a freshen having returned from racing in Victoria to claim second following an economical trip, while the performance for third by O’Cartier (My Halo) typified his resolve after being trapped wide throughout.
The margins were one-length, by a head, by a long neck, and as favourite Celeris returned healthy each way odds on the NZ TAB, $4.70 & $2.10, while closing at $5 in the fixed odds market.
The time for the 1200-metres was 1:10.63 on footing considered perfect for all horses.
Owned by D J Brady, A C Montgomery, D E & E Y Nakhle, Celeris had given veterinarian and former jockey Leo Molloy the perfect start to his training career when obliging at Ellerslie in October, while she was far from disgraced when second in the Pegasus Stakes over 1000-metres at Riccarton, after setting a frenetic pace on slower going than she prefers.
With talent detectable through her form-line – 4 wins, 3 seconds, from 9 starts – Celeris remains a day-to-day proposition, as she was previously retired only to be given another chance.
Molloy had said following her win at Ellerslie, “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 pharmacological regime to help her.”
While her fitness is improving, Molloy is hopeful she can continue to remain sound with a view to tackling richer sprinting assignments.
“The owners, their Everest is the group one sprints over the Christmas, New Year period, so we’ll do something along those lines”, Molloy said.
“Du Plessis gave her a great ride”, said Molloy. “She’s a nice mare and deserved to win a race like this. Black type, she’s earned it.”
Having his first ride aboard the mare, Du Plessis said, “She wanted to lead, but as soon as I brought her back she was quite happy and just settled, and was probably always going to win. But, she actually needed the run today and I think she’ll probably improve.”