A swooping late run from the Robert Smerdon-trained Politeness saw the mare secure a trip to Adelaide this autumn to target the 2015 Robert Sangster Stakes with a narrow win in Melbourne’s Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse.
The Street Sense four-year-old celebrated her sixth win at career start number 20 today, Politeness racing for the first time since her third in a mares-only Group 3 at the track over 1200m in mid-February.
Coming off a winning trial at Geelong late last month, Smerdon’s Group 3 winner returned in the $120,000 Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) where she and jockey Dwayne Dunn had a gun barrier five draw in the big 15-starter field.
Classy filly Eloping from her nice gate two draw was one of the best out the gates getting up on the inside in a rush to head Vatican and take the lead.
One of the best in betting, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Gregers meanwhile got into third on the rails in a handy place with Peter Moody’s Exceed And Excel gelding Thermal Current on her outside.
Eloping, who eventually dropped out to cross 10th, lead into the turn while subsequent fourth-past-the-post Tried And Tired had a luckless run late peeling out wide to get into the mix.
Equal $5 favourite Sabatini for Lee & Shannon Hope was also trying to barge her way in, the three-year-old Street Cry filly having won the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes at the track before her last start Group 2 Kewney Stake second at Flemington a month ago.
Craig Williams’ mount Gregers, coming out of a second to Platelet in a 955m Moonee Valley sprint from March 27, started to tackle the leader 200m from the winning post as they spread across the track.
There were a host of livewire chances fighting it out but it was Politeness ($13) who swamped them late and won by a neck from Thermal Current ($6) with Gregers ($7) just off them in third still beaten under a length.
“I think the trick with her is to get her relax early and there being enough tempo early to allow her to finish off,” Dunn said after the win.
“We have seen what we can get out of her and she has produced half of that today.
“I think that she still has plenty of improvement in front of her.”
Politeness was back to her best today after an incident just after her Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes second on February 14 saw her miss a bit of racing.
“We had an injury with her after her first-up run and it was one of those unfortunate accidents where she drove a nail into her spot,” winning trainer Smerdon said.
“Each time we thought we had her right it would stir up again after she galloper and we would have to wait.”
The team has now booked in a trip to Adelaide, after she ruled herself out of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival majors like last weekend’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes, with a focus on the $400,000 Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 2.
“Once we had to revise the prep we looked at Adelaide because she didn’t make it to Sydney for the Coolmore or the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and obviously she is a multiple Group winner, but we want to win a Group 1 with her and the Sangster is her opportunity,” Smerdon said.
All going to plan, owner Phil Sly will then follow the trend and retire to the breeding barn in Japan with a likely date with super sire Deep Impact.
“Getting these Group 1 mares and sending them to Japan is what Phil Sly is all about and that is where she will go if she wins the Sangster,” Smerdon confirmed.
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2015 Bel Esprit Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 18/04/2015
|1||8||POLITENESS||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||–||5||55.5kg||$13|
|2||14||THERMAL CURRENT||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||0.75L||6||54kg||$6|
|3||2||GREGERS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Craig Williams||0.85L||1||59kg||$7|
|4||3||TRIED AND TIRED||Leon & Troy Corstens||Michael Walker||1.6L||9||58.5kg||$15|
|5||10||SABATINI||Lee & Shannon Hope||Nicholas Hall||2L||15||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$5EF|
|6||16||INSPECTOR||Peter White||Dale Smith||2.1L||4||54kg||$51|
|7||13||HAZARD||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||2.3L||3||54kg||$21|
|8||12||JAZZ SONG||Mick Price||Chad Schofield||2.6L||10||54kg||$16|
|9||1||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||3.1L||7||60kg||$21|
|10||11||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Stephen Baster||3.85L||2||54kg||$9.50|
|11||9||RUNWAY STAR||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||4.05L||12||54.5kg||$5EF|
|12||6||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Chris Symons||4.15L||13||56kg||$41|
|13||7||VATICAN||Byron Cozamanis||Patrick Moloney (a)||5.15L||8||56kg||$51|
|14||5||GENERAL TRUCE||Ricky Maund||Jason Benbow||8.9L||11||57.5kg||$51|
|15||4||UNPRETENTIOUS||Nikki Burke||Noel Callow||14.9L||14||58kg||$41|
|–||15||AFRICAN PULSE||Stephen Brown||Dean Yendall||–||0||–||–|