Retirement Looms for Belmont Newmarket Celebrity

Connections of likely 2014 Belmont Newmarket favourite in WA this weekend Celebrity Miss will discuss the option of retirement following her attempt at back-to-back stakes wins at Belmont Park.

A winner of eight of her 17 starts to date the More Than Ready mare has amassed just over $238,000 in prizemoney that she’ll be out to add to this Saturday in the $100,000 Listed Belmont Newmarket (1200m).

The six-year-old’s strike rate this prep is very good with Celebrity Miss winning three of her past four starts including on July 30 in the Listed HG Bolton Sprint (1200m).

There she carried 54kg with William Pike in the saddle.

On Saturday though she goes up two kilos to 56kg and also has a jockey change with apprentice Chris Parnham, unable to claim, replacing Pike.

Pike has opted to jump off the HG Bolton Sprint winner and reunite with the Ross & Clint Price-trained Smoko on Saturday.

Having won their opening five starts Snitzel gelding Smoko was last seen going down as the beaten $1.70 favourite behind upset winner Pininci, also racing in Saturday’s feature, in the Listed Beaufine Stakes (1000m) at the track.

Pike rode Smoko for a Lark Hill trial late last week however, which they won by an easy three and a quarter lengths, and is confident they can bounce back and atone for their Beaufine loss in the Newmarket.

They were to have run last weekend but the Belmont meeting was a washout.

They jump from barrier eight one inside of Celebrity Miss, her part-owner Bob Peters a bit disappointed with the wider draw for his mare.

“Our last two runners have drawn 14 in fields of 14,” Peters told The West Australian.

“She has done well since her last start and we will keep going with her.”

Depending on her performance on Saturday though there’s a chance the Belmont Newmarket will be Celebrity’s Miss’s final run before retirement as suitable races for her peter out as her rating goes up.

“Retirement plans will depend on whether she goes up too high on the points scale, because if she does there is no point racing her for another year,” Peters said.

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