Kementari and Kallos score Stakes wins at Flemington

Mike Hedge
Mike Hedge

The former star three-year-old Kementari rewarded the faith, skill and perseverance of trainer James Cummings and his team with a victory in Saturday’s G2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington that breathed new life into a worthy career.

The winner of three Group races in succession – including the G1 Randwick Guineas – as a three-year-old, Kementari retired to stud as a four-year-old in 2019, only to be returned to training a year later.

While he showed glimpses of form in his comeback, the son of Lonhro struggled to break back into form until being sent across the country to Perth where the team coaxed a G3 win from him last December. 

Kementari came to the Gilgai at his first run since last autumn, and his first as a seven-year-old, and indicated he would be a presence in the race when in touch with the field at the halfway mark of the 1200m event.

With jockey Damien Oliver shouting encouragement, he joined the leaders with 100m to run, his class prevailing in the final few strides and earning him a half-head defeat of Zoutori with Kemelpasa in third place.

Oliver offered praise for a horse he was confident would figure in the finish.

“He’s a beautiful horse to ride, he’s got a great temperament and it was great to see him get a win today,” Oliver said.

“I trialled him and galloped him during the week and you couldn’t ask a horse to be going any better."

“I was quietly confident he’d run a good race today, but it is Kementari and he wins sparingly, you might say." 

“I got there in plenty of time, but I had to have a whisper in his ear late to get the best out of him.” 

The win was Kementari’s fifth at Group level and took his earnings to more than $2.3 million.

Kementari’s win was followed on the Flemington program by that of his stablemate Kallos in the G2 Danehill Stakes.

Stepping up from a maiden win at Hawkesbury at his previous start, Kallos led throughout to score by two lengths from General Beau (Brazen Beau) and Bruckner.

Stable foreman Reg Fleming said the team had always had a good opinion of the colt who is out of the Stakes-winning mare Calliope (Exceed And Excel).

“He was unlucky at his first start at Moonee Valley and he ran really good up the straight here at his next race so James (Cummings) thought we’d bring him down and have a go at this,” Fleming said.

Winning rider Fred Kersley said Kallos had controlled the race from the jump.

“He’s a nice horse going places and I felt I always wanted to go forward,” Kersley said.

“He travelled well for me throughout and at the 600 I really had to remind myself to hold on."

“Then when I felt for him late I thought ‘okay we’re in with a chance’ but the last 100 was very strong.”