Adelaide horseman Gordon Richards is hoping his smart sprinter Belfast Boy can replicate their last start Flemington win when they take on a small but classy field of rivals back at the track for Saturday’s 2013 Kensington Stakes.
Just six horses were accepted for this year’s $120,000 Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m), running as Flemington Race 3 at 2:10pm, one of which is South Australian speedster Belfast Boy who is at least assured a $2,400 pay day just for running because of the diminutive field.
The Bel Esprit five-year-old posted their first win since July of 2011 last time out when Richards bought them up to Melbourne for the New Year’s Day races at Flemington.
Relishing the sharp 1000m down the straight Belfast Boy carried 59kg to an eye-catching victory having worked their way from the back of the pack to hang on in a narrow finish as a $20 roughie.
They return to the same track and distance this weekend for the Kensington but this time they are paying $10 in the latest bookmaker.com.au markets, Belfast Boy boasting an obvious liking for Flemington.
“He always runs well down the straight,” Richards said this week.
“Even when he isn’t going that well around the corner here in Adelaide, he seems to find something down the straight.”
From four other runs at Victoria’s premier course they have recorded a second win as well as a minor placing.
Drawn in gate five with former Adelaide jockey Dwayne Dunn, replacing heavyweight hoop Noel Callow, to ride for their sixth look at Flemington Belfast Boy is sure to appreciate the drop back to 56kg on Saturday and look a genuine chance after their last start effort.
“Dwayne rode him when he finished second behind Stirling Grove there (at Flemington) a couple of years back (during the 2010 Melbourne Cup Carnival),” Richards said.
“He’s a good rider and in pretty good form.”
It could be a case of them running for second however with the reigning Kensington Stakes winner First Command back to defend their title.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Commands seven-year-old is odds-on favourite in the Kensington Stakes betting markets paying $1.70 having also won their lead-up run when resuming with a Caulfield victory on January 5.
Still, Richards is hoping the weight advantage with First Command on 59kg will give his galloper the edge they need to be competitive.
“It’s a tough little race,” Richards admitted.
“I’ve had a good look and pretty much all of the horses like to sit off the speed which isn’t ideal, but that’s why you put jockeys on.
“The horse is going great, I gave him three or four days in the paddock after his last win to give him time after a short back-up.
“He seems well, so we’ll see what happens.”
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