Great to see our talented three year olds’ Blackwood and Saxophonist return to racing on opening day at Ascot.
We are hopeful both gallopers will add some back type to their pedigree this campaign.
Perth Racing story
Oct 16, 2015
Champion trainer Fred Kersley heads into Saturday’s Crown Perth-Opening Day meeting at Ascot with two of his star three-year-olds launching their campaigns ahead of the upcoming feature races this summer.
Unbeaten filly Blackwood faces the biggest test of her career so far, when she lines up in the Crown Perth-Belgravia Stakes (1200m).
Blackwood, who drew barrier 10 for the Listed race, is rated as one of the leading chances, along with the Paul Jordan-trained Senso, WA Sires Produce Stakes winner Showy Chloe, and the Grant Williams-trained Perfect Reflection who currently occupies favouritism.
Kersley said he was in no doubt this was the biggest test of Blackwood’s career, but thinks she is well placed to run a bold race first-up.
“Clearly this is her biggest test,” he said.
“I’m happy with her and she has trained on well for this race, but she certainly will be tested against this quality of opposition.”
Blackwood’s four wins came over 1000m, 1400m (twice) and 1600m in her two-year-old campaign, and despite the Belgravia only being over 1200m, Kersley said it was the right distance to start the filly’s campaign aimed at the Group 3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) on November 14.
“As she goes forward she will go out in distance but as a start point, 1200 is right,” he said.
“We will know a lot more about her after tomorrow’s race, and just how she measures up to this quality of field but we are positive about her chances.
“She will go forward to the Champion Fillies and beyond.”
Saxophonist was equally as impressive in his two-year-old campaign, winning over 1200m at Ascot, and finishing second to Showy Chloe in the Sires.
Kersley will start the gelding in the Crown Metropol Handicap (1500m), which was reduced to just nine starters today, after the Victoria Derby-bound Kia Ora Koutou was scratched.
Saxophonist will still face stiff opposition in the $60,000 event, headlined by Listed winner London Line.
Kersley said Saxophonist would take improvement from the run, and the gelding’s lack of fitness could be exposed over the 1500m.
“I think he will probably need the run,” he said.
“1500 metres is not ideal for his first-up start, so he is going to be exposed a little bit on fitness I would have thought.
“He was a horse that was very effective last year but he has still got a lot to learn about racing.”
Kersley said he was not sure where Saxophonist would head this campaign, but indicated a start in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) was one of the options.
Saturday will mark two days until the 13th anniversary of Kersley’s champion galloper Northerly’s Caulfield Cup triumph, and fittingly the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) is the feature event on the Opening Day card.
Kersley said he was pleased with how the racing industry continued to honour Northerly, who also won back-to-back Cox Plate’s in 2001 and 2002.
“I think it is a complement to the horse,” he said.