Do not rule out Celavi on turf
Clements believes his prolific mare should handle it, although all her wins were on Poly
Nine starts on the Polytrack for seven wins, a second and a fourth. Three starts on the turf for a third, an eighth (in Group 3) and a 12th (in Group 1).
The records speak for themselves, right?
But trainer Michael Clements will still not rule out last-start Group 3 Merlion Trophy winner Celavi in her fourth turf attempt in today’s $100,000 Kranji Stakes A race over 1,200m (4pm).
He believes racing statistics can be just numbers at times. They do not always add up.
“She ran on turf three times without winning, but I think it’s fair to say she wasn’t right then. She wasn’t at her best,” said the 2020 Singapore champion, who opened his 2022 account last Saturday with The Shadow, South Of The River and Mortal Engine.
“Now that she has come to hand in the last six months and produced her best racing of late, I feel there is no real reason why she should not go well on turf.
“Breeding-wise, she should be okay on turf as well. No doubt, she’s more proven on Polytrack.
“But, if she’s going as well as she’s been of late, it’s worth having another go and we can then see how she goes.”
Well, that is a brave call. Let us hope Clements is right.
But the turf is just one of Celavi’s hurdles. The opposition also looks strong, even though it is just a small field of eight runners.
“Kharisma and Makkem Lad are two horses who are in form, plus they have good turf form,” said Clements.
“A lot will depend on the barrier draws. Regardless how the speedmap unfolds, Celavi will stick with the same style of racing of going forward or racing handy.”
All his charge’s victories were practically from go to whoa, even from wide berths. Today, the Celavi Stable-owned five-year-old mare will start from Gate 6.
Kharisma will start from three (see story on the right) and Makkem Lad from five.
Celavi will be ridden by French jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, who rode her to victory five times. Her two other wins were with noted front-running jockey Mohd Zaki.
While he is still hopeful of Celavi, Clements has a second top contender in Starlight. The PSM Racing Stable-owned four-year-old has more positives in the race.
Besides being drawn in Gate 2, he has a better record on the turf (three wins, including the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m to one on the Poly).
He also gets a lighter weight – 53.5kg (52.5kg after jockey Shafrizal Saleh’s 1kg claim) – compared to Celavi’s 55kg.
“Starlight ran second in the Merlion Trophy, even though he’s more proven on turf,” said Clements.
“He comes in better at the weights this time, compared to what he did at weight-for-age in the Merlion Trophy. Celavi is also well in on weights.
“Starlight’s fit and well, just like Celavi. They both had only a couple of weeks off during the December break. It was more of a freshen-up and they’ve both been back in work for a while.”