If betting is any guide then it’s going to be a ‘Jolly’ battle in Saturday’s $102,250 Listed Durbridge Stakes at Morphettville.
David Jolly’s Behemoth and Richard and Chantelle Jolly’s Kemalpasa dominate the market for the 1100m feature, which is the perfect launching pad for their respective campaigns that are both geared towards a start in the lucrative All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley on March 13.
“I’m really happy with him (Kemalpasa),” Richard said.
“He’s not fully wound up but he’s fit enough to run a good race.
“He looks like the leader. If he can roll to the front, he’ll give a good sight.”
The Durbridge will give the stable a guide to whether they look to stretch out Kemalpasa to the 1600m for the first time or pull back and sharpen the horse up for another tilt at some features down the famous Flemington straight.
“We put him in the All-Star mile to review it after Saturday,” Jolly said.
“Obviously the Newmarket is a pretty good option for him because of his form down the straight.”
And can he upstage Behemoth first-up?
“I’m not bullish about beating David’s horse,” Richard said.
“He’s had the wood on us in previous runs (and) he’s probably not fully wound up either, but you’d expect them to be fighting out the finish.”
David said Behemoth was short enough with tab.com.au at $1.40, despite coming off his breakout spring, which delivered two Group 1 victories.
“That surprises me a little bit, given the distance it is,” David said on RSN.
“He’s not renowned for his prowess over 1100m.
“I’m pretty happy with him. He’s probably not quite as fit as when he ran in the Spring Stakes. He had a fairly solid gallop on Tuesday at ‘Strath’ and I’m happy with where he’s at for this race.
“We’ve got three weeks to work on him before the Futurity.”
David said a lack of speed in the race could play into the hands of Kemalpasa.
“There doesn’t look like there is a lot of speed there,” he said.
“I imagine Richard’s horse will be… in front. He’s no slouch.
“I think he’s a bit long (priced) and mine’s a bit short.”
In the opening week of voting Behemoth trails only Perth mare Arcadia Queen in the All-Star Mile rankings. Phillip Stokes’ Mr Quickie sits inside the top 10 at number eight, while SA-bred mare Affair To Remember is ranked 14th.
IMAGE: Kemalpasa is looking to upset hot favourite Behemoth in this weekend’s Durbridge Stakes at Morphettville.