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Rapid Racing highlights

20 December 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Short, sharp racing providing milestones and special moments at Flemington.

International flavour in sprint victory

Over more than two decades, Mike de Kock has trained more than 2,000 winners - among them 79 at Group 1 level – but winning a Class 1 event on the Rapid Racing card was special enough for the globetrotting trainer when Celestial Storm saluted in the Wheelhouse Advisory Sprint (1000m).

Furthermore, it was the first time that de Kock had been to Flemington in over 18 years.

Trained by de Kock’s son Mat in partnership with Robbie Griffiths, Celestial Storm registered a second win in nine starts.

“I have fond memories here at Flemington,” de Kock said.

“The last time I was here I think I ran unplaced in a Melbourne Cup that Makybe Diva won and it was a very special day.”

That horse was Greys Inn who finished 17th behind Makybe Diva in the Melbourne Cup of 2005.

Te Akau colours to the fore again

Imperatriz thrilled the crowds on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with her victory in the Group 1 Champions Sprint (1200m), and the Te Akau Racing orange with blue stars silks made an impression again as Sans Doute won the Tick Homes Dash (1000m)

Having ‘ticked the box’ down the straight, Te Akau Racing’s Melbourne representative, Ben Gleeson, said that a reappearance by Sans Doute at Flemington’s meeting on January 20 was likely.

Another Conlan wins at Flemington

Before this race day, trainer Tom Conlan had taken just 18 starters take to the track, and as recently as the night before he had dreamt of winning a race at Flemington.

Starter 19, The Reluctant Star, delivered not just his first winner at the course of history, but also his first in metropolitan Melbourne.

Ballarat-based, Conlan’s late father Frank had two starters at Flemington but neither made the placings.

Tom, however, has a 100-per cent Flemington record with The Reluctant Star’s win in the Freedom Property Investors Plate (1100m).

“My heart is racing,” Tom said afterwards.

“I really like this horse and I was was a little bit worried going up the straight the first time but he handled it.

“It’s unbelievable. I actually dreamt of it last night and it was exactly the same.”

Breaking another Flemington maiden

Mornington-based trainer Dean Binaisse said that it was a relief ‘to get the monkey off the back’ after Empressive Enuff gave him his first winner at Flemington in the Ms Peacock Restaurant & Bar Sprint (1200m).

Jockey Teo Nugent squeezed everything he could out of five-year-old gelding to nail the Hayes-trained Chester Warrior right on the line.

Binaisse’s first runner was way back in November 2000 and in 67 starters at Flemington previously, he had managed 11 placings.

Racing returns to Flemington for the traditional New Year’s Day meeting with the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) the feature.