Impressive win for Celavi at comeback

Celavi will tackle the G3 Korea Sprint at Seoul on the weekend. Photo: STC

By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

While trainer Michael Clements is away in Argentina, his yard reached the top in Singapore for the first time this season after Celavi got on the scoresheet in brilliant fashion on Friday night.

The win takes Clements’ tally to 16 winners, sharing the same score achieved thus far by reigning Singapore champion trainer Mark Walker, but the yellow jersey goes onto the Zimbabwean-born handler on a countback for seconds. Even there, it was a close call as it was thanks to Mercurial Turn’s second in the opener that Clements held the edge – 19 versus Walker’s 18.

Celavi had not been sighted since her flop in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1200m) in November, when she was even diagnosed with arrhythmia (heart murmur) post-race.

But the Fighting Sun filly had been working like a bomb at her new prep, and duly translated that sparkling form into a second win first-up in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1000m.

Despite being caught three deep after jumping from barrier No 8, Celavi (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) was still full of running when she edged forward at the point of the turn before skipping clear to a big win. First Choice (Ruan Maia) and Bejewelled (Hakim Kamaruddin), the two horses who kept her honest on her inside, went on to fill the minor spots, with First Choice the runner-up 3 ¼ lengths away and Bejewelled in third place another length away.

Sent out at prohibitive odds of $7, Celavi clocked a smart 58.47 seconds for the 1000m on the Polytrack, a clear indication they went hell for leather early. From her record of two wins and one third from four starts, the three-year-old has already picked up cheques amounting to around $75,000 for her owner, the Celavi Stable.

“She doesn’t necessarily have to lead. Louis kept her balanced and that was the main thing, he rode her the right way,” said assistant-trainer Michael White.

“She’s still a long way off the finished product. We weren’t too concerned about that heart issue, to me she was more tired than anything at the end of her prep, and she deserved a break.

“I think the Saas Fee came too soon for her. She’s come back a lot better and we may throw her at the deep end again later.”

Beuzelin did admit to some anxious moments when First Choice kicked up on the inside in the backstraight, but was relieved his mount had enough class – and petrol – to repel the challenge.

“I was a bit worried to be honest. There was a lot of speed on the inside and she was entitled to get tired in the straight,” said the French jockey.

“But she had a noseband tonight, and that helped her settle. I’ve been working her in the mornings since she came back, and I could tell she had really improved from last year.

“She is a lot more relaxed now, last time she was too generous, she gave too much. Even though she had to do it the hard way on the outside, she was able to take a breather midrace and in the straight she quickened up nicely.

“Now that she can settle better, I hope she can go through her grades.”

Author: iRace