Famous Seamus will head to Melbourne for the Manikato Stakes and Darley Classic after he scored a tough win in the 2014 Premiere Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Jockey Tim Clarke elected to settle Famous Seamus closer to the speed in the Premiere Stakes, but he was trapped wide in the early stages of the race and was forced to cover plenty of ground.
Famous Seamus looked as though he was struggling at the 200 metre mark, but kept grinding to the line and was too strong for Charlie Boy and Wouldnt It Be Nice in the final stages, while Generalife was desperately unlucky in fourth after being blocked for a run throughout.
Clarke said that his plan was always to ride Famous Seamus closer to the speed than he did in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 20 and the move paid dividends for the Elusive City gelding.
“I didn’t think I could win the race being last and on the speed maps that is where it looked like he would be,” Clarke said.
“With Rain Affair coming out it was just going to be a dawdle and I didn’t want to be giving horses with good ability that much of a start with a sprint home.
“He began really well and put himself a bit closer and he travelled good even though he covered a bit of ground.”
Clarke was quick to pay credit to the work that trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith and his wife Emma have done with Famous Seamus and was delighted to give them another Group victory in the Premiere Stakes with their star galloper.
“Noel and Emma have done a great job with him,” Clarke said.
“I pretty much only get on his back on race day and at the trials and they do a fantastic job.
“It is pleasing to win races for people like them; this is their flagship horse, he has two preps a year and he is their stable star so it is great to get another win on him.
“They put a lot of hard work into him and they deserve it.”
Mayfield-Smith was full of confidence heading into the Premiere Stakes with Famous Seamus and he confirmed that the six-year-old would head to Melbourne for a likely crack at races like the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9.
“I don’t think that covering the ground was that bad and it was more the fact that he is a horse that likes to come off a nice speed,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“It wasn’t a brilliant win today, it was a hard grinding win and he overcame difficulties.
“We are going to Melbourne.”
Generalife was having his first race start since he took out the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 19 and was desperately unlucky not to record his fourth straight win in the Premiere Stakes.