Casino Prince gelding Caesars Palace smashed the track record with a tremendous victory in the $150,000 Canberra Mile (1600m) on Friday.
Jockey Jeff Penza guided Caesars Palace through a gap close to the fence and the Sydney raider knuckled down for a narrow win over For Valour (Zoustar). He clocked 1:33.75s to cut a half-second off the old mark set by Balonne (Casino Prince) in the 2020 Federal Hcp.
Caesars Palace had put the writing on the wall at two prior runs following a spring prep that closed out with a midfield finish in the $2million Big Dance (1600m) at Randwick in November.
“He was five-wide without cover that day and still loomed up in the straight,” Randwick-based trainer Anthony Cummings recalled on Monday morning. “He’s pulled up perfectly after Saturday and his long-term goal is another crack in this year’s Big Dance.
Cummings plans to run him next in the Ajax Stakes (Gr.2, 1500m) on March 11. “He likes the 1500m at Rosehill and then we will go to the Muswellbrook Cup three weeks later. It’s a Big Dance qualifier and we would like to win that and not have to worry about making the final field when he comes back from a spell.”
Given plenty of time to mature, Caesars Palace won a Goulburn maiden as an autumn 3yo and has now earned over $474,000. Cummings bred him having sourced his Vinery-based sire Casino Prince and dam Soffraaj (Iffraaj) as yearlings at the Magic Millions. His younger half-brother and stablemate Kote (Choisir) won the Brian Crowley Stakes (LR, 1200m) at Randwick in October.
Vinery sold the sole Casino Prince yearling earlier this month at the Inglis Classic Sale for $70,000 to Suman Hedge Bloodstock. The colt was bred by Vinery partner Greg Perry and was purchased by Hedge on behalf of On Fire Racing and Adelaide trainer Travis Doudle.
His dam Contango Miss (Congrats) is an unraced half-sister to SAJC Queen of the South Stakes (Gr.2, 1600m) winner Tango’s Daughter (Redoute’s Choice). “He’s a well-balanced athletic colt and I rated him highly after visiting Vinery,” Hedge said. “He has a lovely temperament and looks a professional even at this early stage.”