Ollie drives Celui to victory at The Valley

Stanley and Celui back to The Valley this Friday night

Brent Stanley could be dealing with the best horse he’s ever trained with smart Tornado colt Celui, a three-time winner from just six starts. At least, that is what great mate and soon to be retired champion jockey Damien Oliver has said to him, who has partnered the horse to victory twice, including two starts back here at The Valley.

It was no great surprise therefore to see Stanely throw his three-year-old straight into the deep end, contesting the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day at his next outing. What proceeded in the stallion making sprint was nothing short of a nightmare, but Celui has bounced out of the run well and is ready to return to the winner’s enclosure this Friday night.

“In the Coolmore, barriers opened – couldn’t win. Went a furlong, was even worse. After 600 metres – horrific,” Stanley said.

“Horses can’t over race and belt into other horses at that level. They were going slow, they were walking so he over raced bad, hence why the leader won.

“But he’s improved out of that, and he’s pulled up well. So, we’ll forget about the Coolmore.”

Celui will now contest the Three-Year-Old Benchmark 70 over 1000-metres at The Valley on Friday, an identical race to the one he was able to capture two starts back. Only this time, with 6 extra rating points to his name, he has been assigned 62kg, and will lose the services of Damien Oliver and instead get boom apprentice Wiremu Pinn, who claims 2kg to bring the weight back down to 60.

A repeat performance from that night should make him hard to beat too, and Brent Stanley will only be hoping the horse can be afforded more luck in running, something he has been starved of in recent goes.

“Just the sectionals he ran (two starts back) three and four-wide…

“They were winning on the inside, and he was pretty arrogant that day. He did it without much pressure going to the line too.

“Ollie said that he gave him a very good horse’s feel. Not many horses sit three-wide and sprint away from them and win arrogantly, and then run those sectionals as well covering that ground.”

Celui was a $200,000 purchase by Stanley at the 2022 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, the upper echelon of his price range, but already the colt has won back $156k back for his owners, which include his trainer, and could well surpass his sale price in his next two starts.

“I didn’t have much money and not many clients at the time. I had a look at every horse on the ground and I thought he was the nicest colt there.

“So I went up to $200,000 for him, purchased him, and rang up a couple of good clients of mine that jumped into him pretty much straightaway.

“I stayed in him myself mainly because of the quality of him that I liked. And he’s paid us so far and rewarded us.”