Seven-year-old sprinter Grand Duels showed he was still in excellent form scoring his third consecutive win on Saturday taking out the $100,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
The Byron Cozamanis-trained Grand Duels was the 59.5kg top weight in the 2011 Kensington Stakes field, but the Marechal gelding handled it well and was able to hold on and post a good victory in an upset result.
Grand Duels was resuming after nearly a month spell, before which he scored back to back wins at Caulfield.
On Saturday the Christmas Stakes winner, ridden patiently by Steven Arnold, went out at $6 on the tote and was able to run down and overtake the $4.40 favourite Warm Love to win by a long neck, with the highly fancied David Payne-trained Cardinal Virtue ($5) a close third just a half length back from the winner.
The disappointment of the race was Trader, the $5 chance finishing over 19 lengths away last.
Grand Duels has now won 10 of their 37 career starts for over $741,000 in prize money.
After Saturday’s success connections are considering Grand Duels for the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1200m) running at Caulfield’s Blue Diamond Stakes Day on February 26th, a race Grand Duels finished dead last in last year.
Three years ago Grand Duels won their first Kensington Stakes and went on to place a sixth behind Apace Cat in the Oakleigh Plate and then third to Weekend Hussler in the 2008 Newmarket Handicap.
A good show in the Oakleigh and the $1 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12 at Flemington could be on the cards for Grand Duels, who is performs best at the Flemington track.
Premier online bookmaker Luxbet currently has Grand Duels as a $41 chance in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap odds and are also paying $11 for him to place.
The next major racing action will take place this Wednesday, January 26th when Australia Day races run at Randwick and Caulfield.
2011 Kensington Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||GRAND DUELS||Steven Arnold||Byron Cozamanis||–||$6|
|2||WARM LOVE||Ben Melham||David Brideoake||0.4L||$4.40F|
|3||CARDINAL VIRTUE||Michael Rodd||David Payne||0.5L||$5|
|4||SANDUSKY CITY||Adam McCabe||Grant Craven||1.3L||$16|
|5||BIG SPIRIT||Craig Newitt||Rick Hore-Lacy||1.8L||$9.50|
|6||FACE OFF||Jason Maskiell||Shaun Dwyer||2.8L||$41|
|7||WALTZES||Damien Oliver||Jarrod McLean||3.1L||$14|
|8||DIAMONDCOWBOY||Chris Symons||Gary Sherer||3.4L||$61|
|9||SILVER BULLION||Jake Noonan||Leon Corstens||5.4L||$9|
|10||OUR JAZZXAAR||Jarrod Todd||Alan Pateman||12.4L||$301|
|11||TRADER||Glen Boss||Anthony Cummings||19.4L||$5|
|SCR||STIRLING GROVE||–||Richard Jolly||–||–|