Sweet Stakes Success for Clementine

18 October 2021

Sweet Clementine (NZ) claims the $60,000 Listed Staphanos Classic (1950m). Photo: Race Images

A flying finish carried Sweet Clementine (NZ) (Sweet Orange) to a valuable first stakes success in Sunday’s $60,000 Listed Staphanos Classic (1950m) at Arawa Park. 

Trainer Richard Collett paid $75,000 to secure Sweet Clementine from Wentwood Grange’s draft in Book 2 of Karaka 2018, and the talented mare has now had 24 starts for five wins, five placings and $122,976 in stakes.

Rated among the leading contenders for Sunday’s feature after a strong last-start victory at Matamata, Sweet Clementine settled in third place as the field passed the finish line with a lap of the Rotorua track remaining.

Patiently ridden by Craig Grylls, the five-year-old dropped back to fifth coming up to the final turn as rivals surged past her to make their bids. But then Sweet Clementine changed gears and charged home through the last 150 metres, diving through in between Beaudz Well (NZ) (Zed) and Pep Torque (NZ) (Nadeem) to score by a short head.

“That was just excellent,” Collett told NZ Racing Desk. “We had always thought that once she got over a bit more ground, she would be effective on better tracks and could win at this level.

“I guess the big thing in her favour today was that she was rock-hard fit. I had my brother Jim looking after her at Matamata last time and again today, and he said when she came back in after the race, she wouldn’t have blown out a candle.

“It was also a top ride by Craig. He said he got pushed down to the rail early on, and turning for home he had nowhere to go. But once he got clear, she really sprinted hard and managed to just get up on the post.”

Collett now intends to step Sweet Clementine up to Group Three level in the Balmerino Stakes (2000m) on Melbourne Cup Day on 2 November, which will be staged at Ellerslie if Auckland’s COVID-19 situation allows.

Black-type success enhances a quality pedigree for Sweet Clementine, whose outstanding half-sister Wealth Princess (NZ) (San Luis) was a two-time winner of the Group Three Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) in Brisbane and also placed at Group One level on both sides of the Tasman – finishing second in the Waikato Sprint (1400m) and the Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).

Sweet Clementine became the 36th individual stakes winner sold through Karaka 2018 – a list headed by the Group One heroes Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Sierra Sue (NZ) (Darci Brahma), Miami Bound (Reliable Man), Toffee Tongue (NZ) (Tavistock) and Yourdeel (NZ) (Dundeel).

Vendor Wentwood Grange
Purchaser Collett Racing Stables (Auckland)
Breeding Sweet Orange – Wealth Star
Sale Lot 1068, Karaka 2018 Book 2, $75,000
Bred by B S & K A Gillovic