“Onward and upward” was the overriding sentiment offered by jockey Glyn Schofield following the tremendously impressive win of Kementari (by Lonhro) in the $150,000, Group 3 ATC Aquis Farm Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) on Saturday's feature race day in Sydney held out at Warwick Farm.
Kementari strides clear for Glyn Schofield, picture Sportpix.com.au
One of the major ‘talking horses’ of the Godolphin racing team leading in to the autumn carnival period, Kementari reappeared from a promising spring campaign with a performance that stamped him right in the top echelon of 3-year-olds going into a highlight stage of each and every season.
Opposed by seven quality rivals, Kementari turned in a flawless performance to salute, settling perfectly in fourth position off a solid pace before working into the contest on the home turn.
In a matter of a few strides, the handsome son of Lonhro assumed control of the contest with relative ease before going on to claim the event under a very considerate Glyn Schofield ride.
Kementari, the $3.30 second favourite of the event, went on to score by two and three-quarter lengths from $2.90 favourite Siege of Quebec (by Fastnet Rock). Brave Song (by Your Song) took third at the starting price of $4.40, finishing a half-neck in arrears of the runner-up.
Interviewed after the win, Schofield admitted: “I’m pretty much lost for words.
“I haven’t had a lot to do with him; I rode him in a trial leading into this and he impressed me. But I must say the way he has come off one soft trial into a pressure race today in which there were some fitter horses than him… he treated them with absolute contempt.”
Scofield added: “The way he strolled around them on the corner, you don’t often join the leaders on the bridle in any race. But he’s certainly got a lot of improvement to come as well, so its onward and upward.”
Darren Beadman, picture Sportpix.com.au
Godolphin stable spokesman Darren Beadman was equally enthusiastic about the exciting colt’s Eskimo Prince victory and future path.
“He’s an exciting colt,” declared Beadman before quickly adding, “he’s got an extremely bright future.
“From Day 1 he has really impressed us in everything he has done. Today what he really showed was his class and his acceleration; the way he was able to put away some pretty nice horses.
“He was in a neat spot mid race, inside Siege of Quebec, and Glyn [Scofield] had the utmost confidence in the horse.
“He’s got an aurora about him this horse. His Highness [Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum] has got a really promising colt.”
Asked if Kementari was inevitably heading towards the Randwick Guineas, Beadman replied: “You never make a decision on a racecourse, but he [head trainer James Cummings] has probably got a few options where he goes with him. But that is probably one.
“He has been treated with kid gloves all of the way through and the trip to Melbourne [during the spring] obviously made him grow up that bit more. So, coming into the autumn we have got an exciting colt.”
Kementari clocked 1m09.69s for the 1200m journey, running 33.73s the final 600 metres.
Of the others, the placegetters Siege of Quebec and Brave Song appeared to have every chance but were fairly and squarely beaten by a better colt on the day.
Running an eye-catching fourth was the Peter & Paul Snowden trained Assilimate. A conspicuous last on settling, the striking chestnut son of Sebring made good late ground in the straight and was doing all of his best work at the finish.
Eskimo Prince Stakes, photo finish picture ATC
Kementari and Schofield well clear of the field, picture Stevehart.com.au