Sterling Alexiou feels Call Di just needs a strong pace to win Kembla Classic

Trainers Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou had a plethora of choices for their promising filly Call Di this weekend but the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic looks the ideal race.

The daughter of Frankel and Samantha Miss is also an acceptor for the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday while the Group 2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington on the same day was also considered but ultimately dismissed.

“There were quite a few options for her this weekend but this race looks to suit her, said Sterling Alexiou.

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“There looks to be a genuine speed in this race which will suit her and she has drawn a middle gate which will give Tyler (Schiller) options.

“Also, the mile under these conditions probably suits her a bit more than the Phar Lap (Stakes) at set weights against some pretty smart fillies in Zougotcha and Madame Pommery that are probably a touch sharper than her at this stage.”

The blue blood kicked off her autumn campaign with a nice win in a three-year-old maiden on the Kensington track back on February 3 before heading to Sandown where she was a little unlucky when third behind Shuffle Dancer in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes over 1400m.

After settling near last, Call Dai was held up for a run before flashing home late to finish less than two lengths from the winner.

“She was really good in a very slowly run race,” Alexiou said.

“Obviously when they go that slow, the sectionals home are going to be good and they were.

“Hers were some of the best on the day for the last 600m, 400m and 200m.

“Take nothing away from the winner, she is a pretty decent horse, but I think if you swap their position in running, you would probably swap the result.

“When Ollie (Damien Oliver) came back in, he said if he knew they were going to back the speed off as much as they did mid-race, he would have been happy to be three-deep without cover.

“They went quick for the first couple of furlongs then they really backed off and he was snookered away with no options.

“When they sprinted, the winner was able to build momentum while our filly was still looking for runs but she pulled ground off the first two horses late.”

Obviously, Ryan and Alexiou have a good opinion of the lightly-raced filly to tackle stakes races and they have set their sights set on bigger goals this autumn carnival if she runs to expectations on Friday.

“She is a city winner and has been stakes placed. It’s up to us now to improve her C.V with a stakes win,” he said.

“We would like to think she will be running well on Friday and hopefully we can step her up to a Vinery Stud Stakes or the Adrian Knox.”


IT was disappointing for trainer Stephen Farley and connections of Jaytees when he had to go back to the spelling paddock to recuperate from injury last year but their patience can be rewarded when the speedy gelding makes his return to racing on Friday.

The now seven-year-old only had two starts back from a spell last year and was victorious in both at Quirindi in March and Muswellbrook in April before injury intervened.

“He had a little bit of a setback after his win at Muswellbrook last year which was unfortunate as he was two from two,” Stephen Farley said.

“It wasn’t anything too serious, just a niggling injury which he has had all his life which required him to have another good break.

“He is a day by day proposition but everything is fine at the moment and he could be any better within himself.

“I have day yards for my horses to go out in which keeps them happy and the other day he was having a good roll around and he was bucking.

“Those signs tells me he is feeling very well and is ready to go back to the races.”

Both those wins were over 1000m which is the distance of his race return on Friday in the Benchmark 66 with Grant Buckley to ride.

The gelding goes into the race without an official trial but Farley feels is ready to go.

“He has been back in work for quite a while now, about four months,” he said.

“I have just brought him up nice and slowly and I have done a lot of steady work with him to get him up to the mark for Friday.

“He has done a lot of swimming and a lot of trot and canter with him to get him ready for a 1000 metre race.

“It would be nice if he can kick off with a win. He’s not there making up the numbers and they will know he is in the race.”

Being a day to day prospect, Farley hasn’t set any particular goals for the son of Dreamscape but is hopeful of getting to a midweek race in the city with the gelding.

Originally published as Kembla preview: Co-trainer Sterling Alexiou is banking on a strong tempo to see Call Di storm home

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