Kementari primed to peak on grand final day
STAR colt Kementari is set to end a highly successful campaign on a high in Saturday's $3 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick.
The Lonhro colt has already proved himself to be the dominant three-year-old this autumn with wins in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes, Group 2 Hobartville Stakes and a demolition job of a star-studded Group 1 Randwick Guineas field.
He was handed his first defeat for the preparation last start when third behind the champion Winx and Happy Clapper in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) a fortnight ago at Rosehill Gardens.
Trainer James Cummings says the colt is thriving on the track at home and is ready for a peak performance in Australia's greatest mile race.
"He's certainly looking like he's still on the rise, which is perfect considering what he did at this track and distance in the Randwick Guineas," Cummings said.
"He's really going well coming into the Doncaster. He has a real sense of this being his grand final."
He meets Happy Clapper again in Saturday's race but is 2.5kg better off at the weights than the 2017 Epsom Handicap winner after finishing a length behind him in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
In fact, he pulled half a length off Happy Clapper over the final 100m of that race and is a dominant $3.70 favourite to turn the tables on Pat Webster's fan favourite, who is second on the line of betting at $5.
"We'd been impressed to see the change in the horse leading into the George Ryder and after racing so well against Winx, he seems to have come out of it with more energy," Cummings said.
"We feel like we're going to see a big performance from him, and for us it's very exciting to saddle up a colt of his calibre in such a prestigious race."
Three times in the past 10 years horses have come back from a 2000m race to win the Doncaster.
They were Rangirangdoo (2010 Ranvet Stakes), Sacred Choice (2011 Ranvet Stakes) and Sacred Falls (2013 Rosehill Guineas).
Three are trying to join them this year.
Prized Icon is coming off a third-place finish in the Ranvet Stakes, Arbeitsam won the Neville Sellwood Stakes last weekend and D'Argento won the Rosehill Guineas. Since 1988, however, 13 Doncaster winners have had their lead-up race in the George Ryder Stakes.