By David Nagel
The Cranbourne father-daughter training partnership of Ken and Kasey Keys shocked the racing world on Saturday when their three-year-old Free To Move scored an unlikely victory in the $140,000 Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Given an aggressive ride by jockey Craig Newitt, the Unencumbered gelding sat on speed throughout and fought off several late challenges to win at the ultimate outsider odds of 100/1.
Kasey Keys wasn’t as surprised as the many punters who were tearing up their tickets after the second leg of the quadrella.
“I was pretty confident we could run a place, obviously we were scared of the favourite (Curran), but when there was some give in the track, I thought he was a really good chance,” Keys told Racing.com after the race.
Free To Move was having his second attempt at Listed level after running third to Ocean Beyond and Deep Speed in the McKenzie Stakes at Mooney Valley in November last year.
Free To Move has now won three of his 11 starts, with Saturday’s $84,000 first prize taking his career earnings to a tick over $274,000.
Cranbourne trainers made a real impact at headquarters on Saturday with Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young kickstarting the program in grand style when Celestial Fury made a successful debut in the $125,000 Two-Year-Old Handicap (1420m).
The Savabeel colt won a jump-out at Cranbourne on June 7 and backed that up with an impressive display that suggests he will get over more ground.
Celestial Fury was hard-ridden by jockey Craig Newitt as the field hit the 400-metre pole, but had too much in the tank for the race favourites, Secret Glamour ($3.50) and Somewatt Fabulous ($2.90) to win by a long-neck on the line.
In a forerunner of things to come, Celestial Fury and Newitt saluted at the despised outsider odds of $26.
Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock then continued the momentum of the Cranbourne express when their four-year-old mare Don’ttelltheboss scored a last-to-first victory in the $125,000 BM90 Mares Handicap (1420m).
The Street Boss mare was a conspicuous last after bombing the start, but a patient ride by apprentice jockey Alana Kelly left plenty in the tank as the field turned for home and prepared for a dash down the famous Flemington straight.
Kelly weaved a passage from the 400 to the two, and then sprinted clear for a two-horse war with the Enver Jusufovic-trained Lindhout.
Don’ttelltheboss got the upper hand in the shadows of the post to score by almost a length, with the Nikki Burke-trained Galgani making it a Cranbourne trifecta back in third place.
Don’ttelltheboss has now won three of her 25 starts and accumulated $315,000 in prizemoney. She has run as high as Group-2 Level in the past so does have the potential to improve her winning strike-rate.
And Cranbourne trainers were also winning over the jumps last week with Chris Hyland preparing Karakoram for victory in the $35,000 Maiden Hurdle (3200m) at Warrnambool.
Karakoram had punters cheering, saluting at the odds of $2,10 and impressing jockey Steven Pateman.
“He’s a neat little horse and he jumped every single hurdle spot on,” Pateman said.
“I was conservative at the last and he still jumped it great. He’s a great little horse and placed in the right races he’ll win more.”
In big news for Cranbourne, leading Victorian trainers Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace will call Cranbourne home in the coming months after announcing their decision on Friday last week.
The Group-1 winning partnership currently train at Caulfield, which will be closed shortly as a training facility.