Instant Celebrity ensured the first Group 1 of the 2021 Adelaide Racing Carnival stayed in South Australia with a scintillating win in the 1200m TAB Classic at Morphettville today.
Aided by a perfect rails ride by Craig Williams, who didn’t go around a horse, Instant Celebrity ($8) surged to victory over the final 150m, giving the Phillip Stokes stable a dream result.
The three-year-old filly has been an SA boom horse since a series of eye-catching performances last year and was among the favourites for the 2020 Thousand Guineas, in which she finished a brave third.
After a solid fourth in the Redelva at Morphettville a fortnight ago, Instant Celebrity showed her best at headquarters today, much to the delight of Stokes’ son Tommy, who runs the stable’s Adelaide operation.
“This one means a lot to all of us…” Tommy said.
“Our Adelaide team has put the polish on her and it’s all worked out.”
Instant Celebrity beat Subpoenaed and Rubisaki, while the well-backed Mizzy – who brought strong eastern states form – was unplaced. Instant Celebrity had been ridden in Adelaide by local hoop Kayla Crowther, who was replaced today by superstar Williams.
“Craig Williams did a super job today,” Tommy said, “but also Kayla Crowther, she’s done a lot of work on this filly… and she was very excited about her chances today.”
The win was prominent breeder Trevor Robertson’s eighth Group 1 success. Robertson said during the week that he rated Instant Celebrity superior to his previous Group 1 winners, including Rebel Raider, Devil Moon and Southern Speed.
Meanwhile Victorian visitor Media Award caused a blowout by taking out the other Group 1 on today’s card, the Australasian Oaks.
Ridden by Victorian hoop Luke Nolen and starting at 50/1, Media Award outlasted the fast-finishing VRC Oaks winner Personal by a long neck, with Ripper Rita third.
The 2000m 3YO fillies event was the first Group 1 success for Geelong trainer Chris Calthorpe.
“(The owners) showed great faith in her,” the emotional trainer said post-race.