Pounamu The Main Event


Pounamu, once considered a bridesmaid, has well and truly shed that tag after posting a thrilling win over Material Man in the Group 2 Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday.

After going stride for stride over the final 200m, it was the Alan Mathews-trained Pounamu, ridden by Pat Carbery, who prevailed in a nail biting finish to defeat a gallant Material Man by a short neck.

Zarantz ran third, a further four lengths adrift.

Material Man, who started favourite over Pounamu, attempted to lead all the way for jockey, Lucy Warwick.

The pair are set to renew hostilities in the Perth Cup on January 1 alongside Trap For Fools who was scratched from the Ted Van Heemst Stakes.

Trainer Lindsey Smith opted to err on the side of caution and not back up Trap For Fools who won the ATA Stakes (2200m) on Wednesday.

Pounamu claimed the second leg of a feature race double after taking out the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) two weeks ago.

Meanwhile Celebrity Dream’s golden campaign continued when the quality mare completed the third leg of a feature race treble.

After taking out the Jungle Mist Classic (1200m) and Jungle Dawn Classic (1400m), Celebrity Dream followed up with another impressive performance in the Starstruck Classic (1600m).

The Adam Durrant-trained five-year-old, facing her first attempt at the distance, handled the step up with ease when she charged home from sixth at the turn.

The $2.30 favourite, one of two runners in the race for Durrant, defeated Fontainebleau by a long neck with stable mate First Affair two lengths away third.

Celebrity Dream gave Durrant his fourth Starstruck Classic success and managing part-owner Bob Peters his third after previous wins to Cosmic Storm (2016) and Real Charm (2014).

Peters said Celebrity Dream, who improved her record to eight wins from 15 starts and boosted stake earnings to $360, 750, could target the La Trice Classic (1800m) on January 1.

“I don’t think that’s the end of her or her limit yet,” Peters said.

“It’s always exciting when they can sprint well and they have a bit of pedigree to stay.

“We might see her in a couple of weeks in an 1800m race too.

“We will just see how she is, but she may have had enough.

“She has been up a fair while.

“I’ve always had a lot a lot of time for her.

“When she went to Adam (Durrant) he didn’t think she was much good, but I told him don’t worry this one is good.”

Celebrity Dream was ridden to victory by Chris Parnham, who picked up the prized mount from the suspended, William Pike.

Parnham claimed his first Starstruck Classic, following in the footsteps of his trainer father, Neville and jockey brother Steven who combined with Bippo No Bungus in 2013.