Polytrack specialist Celavi showed she may well be bomb-proof in 1,200m all-weather contests, after she made it three wins in as many starts in such events yesterday.
The slashing win in the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race was incidentally the Fighting Sun five-year-old’s first success since her feature breakthrough in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy in November.
It also paved the way to a late flourish from Michael Clements to grab a training treble in the last three races of the 12-race programme, with Spirit Of Big Bang and Kassab the other two winners.
The big haul also sees the 2020 Singapore champion trainer reclaim the lead on 19 winners on a better countback for seconds than Tim Fitzsimmons.
Spirit Of Big Bang ($80) sprang a delightful surprise no doubt, and Kassab ($15) was given a peach of a ride by Jerlyn Seow in the last race.
But Celavi ($12) was clearly Clements’ highlight, especially after she had fluffed her lines recently. Tardy getaways and the turf were among the main reasons put forward for the defeats, but there was no chink in her armour this time.
With regular partner Louis-Philippe Beuzelin up, the speedy mare jumped cleanly, tracked up the two predicted leaders Fame Star (Seow) and Entertainer (Simon Kok).
On the Polytrack, she grows another leg and was just unstoppable once she bulldozed her way to the front at the 300m.
Even her last-start conqueror Sacred Gift (Iskandar Rosman) had to bow to the real queen, despite a gallant effort to whittle down the margin to 1/2-length.
Gold Star (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) came from last to deny Sacred Gift the runner-up spot by a short head. The winning time was 1min 11.74sec for the Polytrack 1,200m.
“Everything went well. Louis didn’t panic when they sat behind the leaders,” said Clements.
“We knew Fame Star would probably lead, but Celavi was full of running and was strong to the line.”
The Zimbabwe-born handler never left Celavi’s corner during her chequered run – or even the rider’s when some armchair critics decided they would wear boots.
“Louis has been with her from the time she started racing. He gets on well with her,” said Clements.
“He has won on her a few times, but she’s also a rising six.
“While she’s winning, we want to keep her racing. But when she doesn’t, we then think about sending her to the breeding barn.
“She’s better suited to sprints on Polytrack. Turf didn’t suit her.”
With that eighth win in 16 starts, Celavi has pushed her earnings past the $375,000 mark.
While Spirit Of Big Bang and Amore Amore handed Beuzelin a hat-trick, comeback jockey Benny Woodworth was also all smiles.
A typical Woodworth masterclass aboard the aptly named No More Delay brought the right gravitas to the popular Malaysian jockey’s much-awaited return to the Kranji winner’s enclosure.
Back since April 2, Woodworth had been away for a year riding overseas, with no Kranji win since Buddy Buddy on Nov 21, 2020.
It took him only seven rides before he turned back the clock in the $75,000 Novice race over 1,200m.
Under Woodworth’s English riding style, No More Delay collared War Commander (Wong Chin Chuen) to get up by a head.
“A winner is a winner, but it feels good to get this one after so long,” said the winner of over 1,100 races.
“Dan (Meagher) said he had a chance, but after the two horses (Dancing Light and Griffin) came out, we had a better chance.”
Sunday’s Singapore results: results18.pdf