Former Sydney speedster Kencella is set to show his new racing style when he tackles the Listed $120,000 1Print Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Chris Waller’s new stable acquisition Kencella won six races while under the care of John O’Shea, most of them from the front, but the leading trainer is looking to have the Exceed And Excel five year old switch off in his races.
Waller would like to see a more relaxed Kencella settle off the pace with the prospect of stepping up in distance with the view of taking on some feature 1200m races over the Spring Carnival.
Kencella’s wins to date have been two at 1000m and four at 1100m but Waller is certain he will be able to teach him to run out a strong 1200m.
“He’s a nice horse and hopefully he can run a strong 1200m and a bit further,” Waller told the Sportsman.
“In the right handicap on the right day he might be able to get to the next level bit I’d say it will be over a bit further than 1000m.”
Waller took over the training of Kencella after O’Shea took up the head trainer’s job at Darley in May, but had seen him racing during the Sydney Autumn Carnival when he won the Group 3 $150,000 Bacardi Untameable Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on March 22.
Kencella was then sent out the $6 equal favourite in the Group 1 $400,000 Bloodstock.com.au Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 29 but after showing his customary speed faded in the straight to finish eleventh, five and a half lengths behind Tiger Tees.
“I saw him race during the Autumn Carnival and was impressed with the amount of speed he has,” Waller said.
“I’ve tried to switch him off a bit.”
“To get him to the next level we have to try and get him over further so we haven’t asked him for that speed and asked him to try and come back a bit.”
Kencella had two trials in Sydney before heading to Melbourne where new race day jockey Damien Oliver got a feel for the five year old in an 800m jump out at Flemington on August 8.
“In his couple of trials in Sydney he seemed to relax pretty well,” Waller said.
“Damien Oliver rode him in the jump out and he thought 1000m would be better for him first up than 1200m.”
Waller’s Flemington foreman Justin Hales took Kencella to Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning where he completed an 800m gallop in preparation for his Melbourne debut.
Hales rode Kencella herself and the gelding completed the 800m hit out in 55.24 seconds, the final 400m in 24.56 seconds.
“It was a nice chance to take him around there and he handled the track really well,” Hales said.
“He worked really well.”
“He should get around Moonee Valley easily, especially over 1000m and kick off the bend.”
Kencella has been installed the second pick at $4.20 for the Carlyon Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the Robert Smerdon trained Shamal Wind who has firmed into the $3.90 favourite.
First up specialist Shamal Wind is having her first run since finishing fifth to Driefontein in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on April 26.
The five year old mare is unbeaten at four first up runs and is also undefeated at her four attempts at 1000m, one of which was at Moonee Valley.
Villa Verde from the Anthony Cummings stable is on the third line of betting at $5 and also has a first rate fresh record with two wins and two seconds from four first up runs.