Countofmontecristo is 'super talented'
Trainer Clements' exciting find makes it three from three in style
Smart hat-trick winner COUNTOFMONTECRISTO is a horse going places.
His trainer Michael Clements' deputy, Michael White, labelled the exciting three-year-old as "super talented".
White also believes the stable find will be better over 1,400m and 1,600m, even if his three successes were all over 1,200m. The horse has also shown he was not one dimensional with front-running tactics but could also be saved up for the run.
Countofmontecristo kept his unbeaten run going with a third win in a row on Friday night, producing arguably his most impressive performance thus far.
While he won the first two from the front, the widest barrier (10) he drew in the $75,000 Graduation race over 1,200m on Friday night narrowed his options down to a possibly less forward spot, which Clements was keen to test out with the clearly talented son of Echoes Of Heaven, anyway.
Ridden by Glen Boss, his last-start winning partner, Countofmontecristo ($11) did not fly the lids like the last time but quickly strode into a prominent position on the outside of the Mark Walker-trained Unsurpassed (Zawari Razali). The second favourite Nova Missile (Olivier Placais) was in the box-seat on his inside.
The order was not altered until the home turn loomed, when Boss decided it was time to part company with the rest.
Once the ribbons were snipped, Countofmontecristo charged to the lead before pulling away through sizzling sectionals that left his rivals gasping - except for one, the one horse who many thought could lower his colours, Deimos (Michael Rodd).
He’s got a good engine and I would like to ride him proper next time. We still don’t know where the ceiling is with him and we have a lot of things to learn with him.Jockey Glen boss
Reproducing that same blinding run that accounted for his rivals at his last start, the Cliff Brown-trained chestnut looked like he could succeed where his stablemate Sir Isaac failed at his last run, that was to beat Countofmontecristo.
The two horses almost drew on level terms, but Countofmontecristo was only purring along, almost toying with Deimos. The moment Boss went full bore, the gelding slid forward again, drawing clear to post a most impressive two-length victory from Deimos.
The winning time was 1min 9.86sec for the 1,200m trip on the short course. He also dipped below 1:10 in his previous win (1:09.64).
With Clements away at the Inglis sale in Melbourne, White was doing the post-race debrief for the second time (Clements also missed the first win as he was then buying horses on the Gold Coast).
"He showed from the start he was super talented. I think the 1,400m to a mile is more his go but he's done a good job winning three over 1,200m," said the Australian.
"Tonight, we wanted him to take a drop on other horses as he was drawn wide. He's a nice horse coming through, and I think tonight was the benchmark for him to go over the mile, even if there is still a long way to go.
"He's a pretty straightforward horse even if he's still learning his trade."
Boss called Clements' rising star the "real deal".
"He's a real proper horse this one," explained the top Australian jockey.
"He was looking around on the way to the barriers at his last start, but he didn't do that tonight. He was very calm and didn't get upset behind the barriers.
"He's got a good engine and I would like to ride him proper next time. We still don't know where the ceiling is with him and we have a lot of things to learn with him."
With that third win, Countofmontecristo has now taken his stakes earnings past the $120,000 mark for his owner, Joe Singh.
Deimos' jockey, Rodd, said he thought he was on a winning ride at the 600m mark, but he had clearly underestimated what was under Countofmontecristo's bonnet.
"I got beat by him when I rode Sir Isaac the last time. He's pretty special, but I still thought I had the race covered at the 600m," said Rodd.
"He let down good, but Bossy's horse is a very smart horse. He went again and we were beaten fair and square."