Vegadaze Wins the Kingdom Stakes, But Kementari Firms in TJ Smith Market

March 28, 2020

Vegadaze Wins the Kingdom Stakes, But Kementari Firms in TJ Smith Market

The Anthony Cummings-trained Vegadaze took out the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday thanks to a brilliant early ride from jockey Tom Marquand.

Vegadaze got away well from the barriers early to lead from the favourite Villami before fending off the two first-up Godolphin hopefuls, Manicure and Kementari. A big effort was required on the soft track, but with wet form to his name, Vegadaze kicked home for a tough win to enter into 2020 Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes calculations.

Vegadaze remains long odds ahead of next week’s TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick. Photo: Steve Hart.

Cummings didn’t comment on whether or not the stable would look to back up in one of the four Group 1 races at Royal Randwick next week, but he did say the 1200m trip looks to be Vegadaze’s optimal distance moving forward.

“I think on the testing track such as we’ve found today it is the right time to try it. I do think it is probably closer to his right distance range. I think probably 1400m sees him out these days and 1200m on this sort of ground was very comfortable,” Cummings told Sky Racing. 

The win marked Marquand’s second of the day after riding Holyfield home in The Schweppervescence. He said after the race that his horse’s improvement surprised him a little but that he had every bit of confidence coming down the straight.

“To be honest I didn’t really take into consideration that I was on the fittest horse, if anything I thought I had the toughest horse,” Marquand said.

“Going back through the replays, when he has got beat it’s been through getting ground down the last two or three strides, and the last furlong he was running on empty. So today when I was able to save a bit coming to the bottom of the straight I knew I had a winning partner and fair play to him he would have sooner tripped himself over than let himself get beat.”

Despite the impressive win, the bookies have shown Vegadaze no love in the TJ Smith Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au leaving him as a steady $101 shot. Kementari, meanwhile, showed enormous improvement and has firmed from $51 into $34.

All-In TJ Smith Stakes odds courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au can be viewed here.

2020 Star Kingdom Stakes Results

Place # Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Barrier Weight SP
1 7 VEGADAZE Anthony Cummings Tom Marquand 7 54kg (cd 54.5kg) $11
2 6 MANICURE James Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 0.2L 3 54.5kg $7
3 1 KEMENTARI James Cummings Hugh Bowman 0.6L 1 60kg $5
4 2 TACTICAL ADVANTAGE Kris Lees Nash Rawiller 3.9L 2 58kg $18
5 8 GOD OF THUNDER Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Brenton Avdulla 5.2L 12 54kg $12
6 9 VILLAMI Gerald Ryan Tim Clark 5.4L 11 54kg $3.80F
7 13 RIVER BIRD Jason Coyle Ms Kathy O’Hara 6.1L 5 53kg $21
8 12 HANDLE THE TRUTH Keith Dryden Robbie Dolan (a) 6.2L 8 53.5kg $7
9 4 BRAVE SONG Peter & Paul Snowden James McDonald 10.5L 9 57kg $18
10 3 FELL SWOOP Matthew Dale Jay Ford 11.7L 6 57.5kg $61
11 11 SPANISH DREAM Paul Cave Blake Spriggs 14.7L 10 54kg $201
12 10 DIPLOMATICO Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tommy Berry 17.9L 4 54kg $14
5 BOOKER Gerald Ryan Adam Hyeronimus 0

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