CRANBOURNE trainer Ken Keys capped off a successful Spring Carnival when he saddled-up Al Passem to take out this year’s running of the $150,000 Listed bet365 Kilmore Cup at Seymour on Sunday.
In an exciting finish to the 1600-metre race, and witnessed by a good crowd, the five-year-old gelded son of Al Maher and Ruby Bre, paying $9.50 a win, defeated the $2.80 favourite Japanese gelding A Shin Rook, by a half-head, with Heptagon, $5, a long neck away third.
A Shin Rook was also second in the Seymour Cup last month.
The win gave the in-for hoop Jye McNeil the second leg of a winning double.
It was Al Passem’s first success this campaign.
Earlier this Spring Carnival, Keys won the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase on Cox Plate Day and third in the Group 1 Victoria Derby with Soul Patch, along with a third placing with Spanish Reef in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes the same day
“This has been one spring to remember,” Keys said, after Sunday’s cup win.
“He’s just a fantastic horse to train and he deserves one of these better races,” he said.
McNeil was full of praise for Keys.
“I thought it was a good training performance as well, because he had that tough run at Flemington over the carnival and Kenny’s obviously freshened him up nicely for this run today and he toughed it out nicely,” McNeil said.
Keys purchased Al Passem at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale for a bargain buy of $55,000 for stable clients.
The gelding has now won $399,650 from five wins and six minor placings from his 27 starts.
Jockeys Luke Nolan and Damien Thornton rode winning doubles on the program.
District trainers failed to saddle-up winners on the nine-race card.
Kyneton trainer Michael Jones’ Torgerson, paying $41 a win, ran a creditable fifth placing in the cup, only beaten by just over a length from the winner.
Aided by warm weather conditions, a bigger than expected crowd attended the cup meeting, which was transferred to Seymour due to Kilmore turf track undergoing major renovations including track widening.
Kilmore Racing Club chief executive Ben Murphy and his staff worked tirelessly in the lead-up to the meeting and were thoroughly rewarded with the success of the day.
“It was a bigger crowd than I expected, and all the extra hard work in relocating, made it worthwhile,” Murphy said.
At the sponsors’ luncheon, Kilmore Racing Club chairwoman Dr Maxine Brain thanked Seymour Racing Club for its assistance and co-operation in the lead-up to the cup.
She also thanked the long-time sponsors for their continued support.
The Georgina and Co Fashions on the Field was keenly contested while the children were entertained with the Bendigo Bank-sponsored Kids Fun Zone.