Kersley wins first Group race on Kallos
Fred Kersley shook off some 'character-building' near misses in feature events to land the biggest race of his career at Flemington on Saturday when he partnered Godophin colt Kallos to an upset win in the G2 Danehill Stakes.
The 22-year-old had been nosed out in the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes aboard Dice Roll and Mr Mozart in the G2 Stutt Stakes in recent weeks, but he made the most of Saturday's opportunity in the prized sprint in the royal blue silks.
It was his first Group-race success and his 208th winner overall.
"The last few weeks have been quite character building, but I've had great support from James (Cummings) here today and the Godolphin camp," Kersley said.
"This fella couldn't have won his maiden (Hawkesbury) any better last start, so it filled me with confidence coming in."
Kallos was sent out a $12 chance and was a second-stringer in the market behind stablemate Ingratiating, but while that colt got back in the ruck and failed to finish off, Kallos zoomed clear to establish a winning break inside the 200-metre mark.
On the line, Kallos held a two-length margin over the fast-finishing General Beau ($7), who edged out Bruckner ($12) for second by a short neck.
Kersley explained he started riding work for the powerful stable at around the beginning of the new season and said he is grateful for the opportunities he has been afforded.
"About three months ago I probably pushed my way into (Melbourne foreman) Reg's (Fleming) face and started doing a heap of work for him," he explained.
"From there the relationship stemmed but it is just good to get good opportunities for them and being able to deliver on the big day is more important."
As for Kallos, who registered a running double for Godolphin following the Gilgai Stakes victory of Kementari, Kersley said he was confident throughout the race.
"He's a nice horse going places and I felt I always wanted to go forward," he explained. "When Lloyd's Crown came up alongside, I was more than happy to take the sit.
"He travelled well for me throughout and at the 600 (metre mark) I really had to remind myself to hold on here."
Fred Kersley guiding Kallos to victory in the Danehill Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)