Matamata visitor Princess Kereru signed off on an A+ report card for her current campaign when she scored a hollow victory in the Listed NZB Finance Sprint (1200m) at Hastings on Saturday.
The Ken and Bev Kelso and Mark Donoghue-trained five-year-old claimed her second black-type victory for the season with an authoritative display in the hands of regular pilot, Cameron Lammas.
Despite being on the back foot when the gates opened, Lammas soon had the Pins mare in a favourable mid-field position against the rail as local runner, Vinnies Volley set a breakneck speed out in front.
Lammas angled Princess Kereru off the fence at the 600m before looming into contention shortly after turning for home. Asked for a serious effort, Princess Kereru dashed away from her rivals before easing down to score by more than a length from the late closers, Endless Drama and Cavallo Veloce.
“She’s just gone to another level this year,” Ken Kelso said.
“If you had said to me last year that she would be doing this I would have laughed at you.
“She’s just really strengthened up as she always has had ability, but was just a bit weak.”
Kelso also praised the mare’s bulletproof nature, which has seen her thrive since commencing her current campaign back in October.
“She’s been up a long time but just does everything right,” he said.
“She eats and is so relaxed and has a great temperament. Temperament is a huge thing in this game and she just eats, sleeps and is a real little trooper.
“He (Lammas) gets on good with her and it is the way to ride her where she comes with that last run, so it’s very pleasing.”
The victory took Princess Kereru’s career record to seven wins and 8 placings from just 25 starts and over $250,00 in stakes earnings. Along with her two stakes wins in this preparation she also recorded a valuable Group One placing when narrowly beaten by Santa Monica in the Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie back in January. – NZ Racing Desk