Saint Cecelia repeats in Trophy event
SAINT Cecelia slinked along with much in hand while mounting one of her more elegant trademark front-running displays to capture the $786,500 She's On Wheels Trophy for the second year in succession at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Trained by Spencer Chung for owners Robert F Chung & WP Valentine Chung, Saint Cecelia registered her third win for the season from as many starts and her eighth in succession.
Rider Shane Ellis, who was aboard for her last six of eight wins, said: "It was only fitting that she should win this, being the daughter of She's On Wheels and the reigning Horse of The Year and champion sprinter."
Unbeatable over sprint distances for some time now, Saint Cecelia obliged with a time of 1:04.3 for 1,100m in the Graded Stakes event for three-year-old upward.
It was probably not as impressive as last year's run when she equalled the Stakes record of 1:03.4, but she surely had less to do on this occasion.
Installed the 1-9 favourite, Saint Cecelia beat her nearest rival, the American-bred filly and 5-2 betting option Noon It Is, ridden by champion jockey Dick Cardenas, who tracked her for the entire run but was still three lengths in arrears at the wire. American-bred gelding Rio Cobre, partnered by Leo Miller, was never going to get on terms with the leader but kept on resolutely to show as a 9-1 bet, while The Guv, stablemate of the winner, completed the frame at odds of 15-1 in the field of five, ridden by Kerry-Gayl Robinson.
"The victory was not unexpected," trainer Chung said afterwards. "This is racing and anything can happen. Nothing unexpected happened and it is always a good feeling to win a race of this calibre."
With Saint Cecelia four wins away from equalling War Zone's record of 12 consecutive wins after the American-bred hot stepper Mismyrtleboyrichie fell short by two, Chung was asked what were his thoughts on his charge taking up the mantle.
"We're not looking at any record at this point; what we're doing is taking each race at a time," he said.
A six-year-old chestnut mare by Burning Marque out of She's On Wheels (Bates Motel) and bred at Ham Stables Ltd, Saint Cecelia was winning for the 17th time with four second- and three third-place finishes from 28 career starts. She earned $648,650 as the winner's share for a bankroll of $15,705,500 lifetime.
Meanwhile, champion trainer Wayne Docasta saddled three winners to be the top trainer as he did a week ago and continues to hold a substantive lead for a 13th title.
DaCosta opened with the American-bred Kal Kal in the first race, ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson, Classy Prospect in the fifth, ridden by Cardenas, and Imperial Fortune in the seventh, ridden by 4.0kg claiming apprentice Cavel Brown.