Sunday Times scribe John Elsegood summed up the result to this year’s Group 3 Belmont Sprint 1400m perfectly – “Kerrific is Terrific” – a remarkable victory from a near impossible position left us all speechless, while impressed beyond explanation.
On any other day, the 6yo Blackfriars gelding Kerrific ($10.00) would be ever present in the minds of punters – a consistent type who had risen through the classes with an ability to mix it with the “big boys and girls” in competitive fashion. With lead up form to support, including victory in the Grandstand Cup 1400m followed by a stirring fifth in the Roma Cup 1200m at WFA, there would be only one reason why the Bruce Watkins and Gary Hitchcock trained stable star would start in double figures – a dreadful barrier draw (16 of 16).
And so the challenge was cast for hoop Daniel Staeck, for it was going to take a “ride and a half” to overcome such an obstacle – and what was to unfold was simply spectacular. With the pace on early, Staeck was able anchor Kerrific midfield with cover, and drifted his mount backwards in the middle stages before winding up swinging the turn. Staeck, realising he had a “handful of horse”, released the hand brake at the 300m mark and the horse did the rest – sailing past rivals in the straight for a devastating 1 ¾ length white wash.
Belora ($21.00) remained second throughout; while the 18 month losing streak of raging favourite Ranger ($3.00 fav) continued despite putting in another game effort to finish off well in third.
It was the first Group win for the Bunbury trained gelding and its twelfth victory from 36 starts, with prize money now surpassing $400,000.