25 April 2018

Nepean takes one step closer to Derby

A textbook frontrunning ride from jockey Matthew Kellady aboard Nepean kept the Shane Baertschiger yard going great guns on Tuesday night.

Baertschiger’s No 2 stable rider had the Roman Emperor four-year-old out in a flash from his outermost alley in the $80,000 Class 3 race over 1600m, springing one length clear the moment the starter pushed the button.

Kellady then let his silky skills slide Nepean across onto the aluminium before he dropped the engine down to idle mode midrace. 

That halfway manoeuvre saw Ottawa (Ryan Curatolo) marshal the chasing pack closer behind the pilot, but they were soon left cranking through their gears when Kellady decided to part them company at the 300m mark.

Under hands and heels riding, Nepean, a last-start winner in a Class 4 Premier race over 1400m, bounded away in a few strides. Ottawa and Magic City (Vlad Duric) kept on boldly but had to settle for second and third place respectively, a neck apart, just under two lengths off the $38 winner.

While Nepean showed the way in the race, his stablemate O’What A Feeling (Wong Chin Chuen) was off to a less quick getaway to bring up the rear and bookend the field for Baertschiger. But the pair finished closer from one  another inside the last two furlongs, when O’What A Feeling came with a wet sail once he found daylight along the rails to finish fourth, only just a little over 2 ½ lengths off Nepean.

With that one win for the night, Baertschiger keeps breathing down current leader Michael Clements’ neck, one winner behind. Clements also won one race with longshot El Chapo (see other report) earlier.

“Nepean got away with murder with the cheap sectionals he had early. Matty also rated him to perfection upfront,” said Baertschiger.

“I have two jockeys (other one is No 1 stable jockey John Powell) who get their sectionals in both trackwork and races spot-on. It’s good to have jockeys who know their times.

“This horse was stepping up in class (from Class 4 Premier to Class 3), but he showed good form in Sydney, and I was quite confident he could measure up. He is on his way towards the Derby.”

The Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (1800m) is the third and final Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge and will be run on July 15.

Whichever course of action is plotted for Nepean, Kellady would rather leave it to his trainer, but he sure knew which direction to steer him in Tuesday’s contest – one-way traffic.

“Horses like him do it easy for you. He pinged the gates and dictated the race,” said the Ipoh-born jockey.

“I was always in control of the race. He found plenty in the straight, I didn’t have to use the whip.

“There is still plenty of room for improvement left in him. How far he will go, we will see.”

In five starts, Nepean has already brought up two wins, one second and one third at Kranji for stakes money fast approaching the $100,000 mark for the MA Racing Stable. In Sydney where he was prepared by James Cummings, Nepean won one race at Randwick over 1400m and was placed once in four starts for stakes earnings worth A$46,000.

Nepean 240418.jpg

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