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Black Heart Bart looks primed for Kingston Town Classic after bold first-up run

Ken Boman | 01.12.2017

Multiple Group One winner Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) now looks primed for tomorrow week’s Kingston Town Classic (Gr 1, 1800m) after his bold first up run in Saturday’s Railway Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Ascot.

Having his first start since finishing fifth in the Underwood Stakes (Gr 1, 1800m) at Caulfield on 1 October, Black Heart Bart ran on gamely under his 59 kilograms top weight and failed by only a half head when second to Great Shot (Magnus), to whom he conceded 5.5 kilograms.

Time for the race was 1:35.81, the fastest of three races over 1600 metres on the Ascot card, which saw a strong tempo throughout, adding merit to Black Heart Bart’s performance.

The eventual winner, Great Shot set the pace, running 1:00.15 (from the barrier) for his first 1000 metres and then holding on well under his 53.5 kilograms for a narrow but good win, sprinting home his final 600 metres in 35.80.

Black Heart Bart’s effort suggested the popular Darren Weir-trained gelding is nearing peak form, which has seen the former West Australian-trained gelding take out five races at Group One level, with 16 wins (plus 18 placings) from 46 starts for prize money earnings of $3,929,200.

Suited admirably by the weight-for-age conditions of the Kingston Town Classic, Black Heart Bart now looks the horse to beat in that Group One race and the TAB reacted promptly, making him their $3.50 favourite.

One of the surprises of Saturday’s Ascot meeting, that featured six stakes races, was the fast closing times recorded by the Adam Durant-trained four-year-old mare Celebrity Dream (Thorn Park), who came from near last to win the Jungle Classic (Listed, 1200m).

Celebrity Dream won in a moderate overall time of 1:11.40, but in coming off that steady tempo, she produced the fastest closing sectional times of any of the winners on the nine-race card.

She was timed to run her last 800 metres in 45.56, last 600 metres in 34.16, last 400 metres in 22.01 with her final 200 metres in a fast 10.80.

The win, her first at stakes level, took Celebrity Dream’s record to six wins and four placings in 13 starts and judging by Saturday’s effort she looks likely to be effective again in black type events.

It was one of three winners for leading jockey William Pike, a rider that has one of the best strike rates in the country.

Pike subsequently produced a masterful ride in overcoming a difficult wide barrier (13) with Perfect Jewel (Redoute’s Choice) in taking out the WA Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m) for leading owners Bob and Sandra Peters, who also race Celebrity Dream.

Perfect Jewel ran the 1600 metres in 1:36.62 and she was clocked to run her final 1000 metres in 58.92, last 800 metres in 46.76, last 600 metres in 35.36, last 400 metres in 23.28 with her final 200 metres in 11.64.

A recent winner of the Belgravia Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Ascot on 28 October, Perfect Jewel has now taken her imposing record to four wins from five starts and she also heads to the Kingston Town Classic next week.

Feature racing in Victoria on Saturday included the running of the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic (1000m) which went to the speedy Lloyd Kennewell-trained filly La Pomme De Pin (I Am Invincible), who led throughout to score impressively by five and a half lengths.

Time for the 1000 metres journey on the downgraded Soft 7 track was 1:02, which was rated by Racing And Sports as being 0.96 seconds slow per 200 metres when measured against the standard time for that distance.

La Pomme De Pin’s adjusted time was therefore 57.20 and her adjusted sectional times were also smart, with her last 800 metres being 44.52, last 600 metres 32.24 and final 400 metres in 23.64.

It was her second race start, having made her debut in a Two-Year-Old Plate (1000m) at Morphettville on 28 October resulting in a close second to subsequent Merson Cooper Stakes (Listed, 1000m) winner Long Leaf (Fastnet Rock).

La Pomme De Pin now joins the list of hopefuls headed to the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) at the Gold Coast on 13 January.

Another to enhance her prospects for that rich juvenile race was the Gary Portelli-trained filly Secret Lady (Choisir), who led all the way to win the Golden Gift 2YO Plate (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Secret Lady was also having her second race start, having made a good debut when second to talented Godolphin-raced colt Dynamited (Exceed And Excel) in a Two-Year-Old Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill a fortnight earlier.

On Saturday, Secret Lady fought back to win quite comfortably, returning smart sectionals, her 200 metre breakdown from the 1000 metres being: 10.94, 11.21 (400m in 22.19), 11.11 (600m in 33.26), 11.18 (800m in 44.44) with her final 200 metres in 11.83 to give her a quick last 1000 metres in 56.27.

One to catch the eye in the race was the Chris Waller-trained colt Orcein (Snitzel), who was racing on debut and ran on well for third, clocking 56.05 (last 1000m), 44.96 (last 800m) and 33.87 (last 600m), with his final 400 metres in 22.60.

Others to impress on the watch at the Rosehill included Godolphin’s Morton’s Fork (Ad Valorem), who was resuming after being gelded and the now four-year-old finished well for fourth.

Morton’s Fork returned quick closing times of 1:08.55 (last 1200m), 57.04 (last 1000m), 44.89 (last 800m) 33.44 (last 600m) and 22.31 (last 400m) with the 2016 Sandown Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m) winner looking set for a good preparation.

While the Jason Deamer-trained four-year-old Bon Amis (Bon Hoffa) suffered his first defeat in five starts when he chased home the lightly weighted Don’t Tease Me (Beautiful Crown) in the Benchmark 80 (1100m), to whom he conceded six kilograms.

Bon Amis ran very fast closing times, with his last 1000 metres in 55.07, last 800 metres in 44.29, last 600 metres in 33.61 and final 400 metres in 22.54.

A most consistent and honest performer, Bon Amis certainly looks capable of progressing to better things, judging by those impressive sectionals.

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