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 One would expect that with a name like STAGGERING, a horse may drag her hooves a little or a have tendency to wobble around bends … not this three-year-old filly, she put in a performance well beyond her experience at the Bathurst races yesterday, 11th February 2018, when she won the Club Lithgow Rising Prince Cup Showcase Maiden Handicap.

 STAGGERING is the younger full-sister to the promising Base Camp (also trained by Singleton Racing) , they were both bred and are owned by the same interests, namely John W. Kelly Suffolk Vale and Co., they also carry their colours - White, Black Band, Red Cap, the Group 1 winning mare Peeping, who won close to one million dollars in prizemoney, is also associated with these silks.

 Coming off a noteworthy run twenty days earlier when the filly finished strongly from back in the field, STAGGERING was facing an increase in distance to 1300 metres. Mitchell Bell was a late declaration as the jockey and her allocated weight had dropped half a kilo to 55kgs and she had drawn barrier three for today’s assignment.

 The gates opened, STAGGERING jumped cleanly and Mitchell took advantage of their barrier and had the filly positioned a couple of lengths off the leader, the Dean Murfin, Bathurst-trained Winterconi which had scooted through along the fence from her inside draw. After they’d gone sixty or so metres a couple of runners continued to push on out wide, looking to take up a forward spot. A split second decision by the jockey to improve his position in order to avoid being shunted well back in the field, was one which proved invaluable.

 The move saw STAGGERING sitting third two and a half lengths off the pace at the 1000 metres mark and settling back into a nice rhythm. The pair remained there for the next 250 metres until Waldo Waldorf , trained by Noel Mayfield-Smith at Hawkesbury moved up on their outside. Mitchell maintained his tempo which saw the duo make a little ground on the frontrunners, they were now sitting two lengths back and travelling sweetly. With the 600 metres pole behind them Waldo Waldorf had maintained his forward progression out wide. STAGGERING was still enjoying a cosy run on the rail.

 On towards the turn for home, which at Bathurst is a fairly sharp bend, the speed was quickening. The jockey had STAGGERING coming into the race nicely, it was at that moment, on the point of the turn, Mitchell instigated another winning move. He eased his mount off the fence when he realised that the two horses to his outside were getting out wider on the track.

 After pushing through the gap in front of them, Mitchell gave his horse the chance to balance up and began asking his filly for her final effort in pursuit of victory. Winterconi was kicking strongly to their inside, but it was all in vain as STAGGERING was closing with every stride. With 150 metres left to run the pair had drawn alongside the leader and were charging toward the finish line.

 STAGGERING hit the front 100 metres out, Mitchell kept his mount’s mind on the job with a couple of flourishes of the whip …. victory was theirs. The winning margin was three quarters of a length, the time for the 1300 metres journey was 1:16.85.

 Jockey Mitchell Bell has to be commended on his ride, making race changing split-second decisions which turned out to be winning ones. Well Done to the Kelly family, it looks as though your breeding expertise is second to none as far as your horse’s family is concerned.

 No signs of staggering from this filly, strong through the line, STAGGERING showed a lot of race sense and tractability throughout the run. We wish you more wins in the not too distant future.

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