Kementari returns in style as Godolphin lands five in season opener

Mike Hedge

A sensational return to racing by Guineas-winning colt Kementari at Randwick on Saturday, 4 August has opened the door on another G1 attempt at his next appearance.

Kementari just failed to peg back Pierata in the G2 Missile Stakes after being caught in traffic at a vital stage and then storming to the line.

While trainer James Cummings was mildly disappointed not to win the race, Kementari’s first since the autumn, he was delighted with a performance that was full of promise.

“It was a huge run the way he sprinted at the finish was very impressive,” Cummings said. “We’re really pleased by the way he has returned and he’s given us a lot of confidence for the coming spring.

“He’s pulled up really well and he’ll take great improvement from that run.”

While consideration is being given to a run The Everest same 1,200m course as Saturday’s race on 18 October, Kementari is likely to be stepped out to 1,400m at Caulfield on 1 September for his next assignment.

“We like the look of the G1 Memsie Stakes for his next run,” his trainer said. Kementari found himself in an awkward, midfield position from the jump and had to force a passage at the 200m as he set out after Pierata.

With 100m to run he looked a forlorn hope, but he lifted in the final few strides to go under in a tight photo. Kementari’s effort was part of a brilliant start to the new Australian season for Godolphin with the team producing five city winners on the day.

Among them was Avilius, formerly trained in France by Andre Fabre, who was having his first Australian start in the Benchmark 91 Handicap.

“You couldn’t help but be impressed and excited by the performance he’s produced first-up,” Cummings said.

“He’s got a lot of improvement in him and as we get to know him better we’ll gain more confidence.

“But that’s a very exciting beginning and we thank Sheikh Mohammed for sending him to us.”

Godolphin also had wins with Multaja in the SAJ Fruits Handicap and Morton’s Fork in the Cash Out Handicap at Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Intuition in a Benchmark 82 Handicap and Soothing in the Australian Turf Club Handicap at Randwick.