Big weekend for Sellwood

Cambridge trainer Don Sellwood went from one celebration to another after Petty Cury passed her biggest test in the Group III $100,000 Darley Plate at Ellerslie yesterday.

Sellwood was obviously thrilled to see the Australian-bred daughter of Not A Single Doubt get the decider in a close photo finish with the Group One performer Durham Town in the 1200-metre event. But an even bigger occasion for him and his family came a day later when his son, Shane, married Jodie Nicholson in Te Awamutu today.

Shane has worked for his father for many years and was at Ellerslie to soak up the win of Petty Cury, while Jodie is also a stable employee so she, too, can appreciate the importance of such a black type win for the team.

Don’t be surprised to see Petty Cury back at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day next year chasing an event Sellwood won in 1979 with Al Donte.

That thought became very much a possibility as discussions switched to the Group I Railway Stakes, Ellerslie’s major sprint, as a long-term goal for Petty Cury.

“She’s a dead-set sprinter,” said Don Sellwood. “She can have a bit of a rest now and I’ll just take things along quietly with her. A race like the Railway could suit her and we’ll probably aim towards that next season.”

Rider Mark Du Plessis agrees with the Railway Stakes mission.

“This was her biggest test and she did well to win,” he said. “She’s taken the next step each start this season and I think she can go on with it. She could be a Railway type next season.”

Petty Cury is raced by Hong Kong-based owners Matthew and Elizabeth Oram and Andrew Li and has now won six of her nine starts and picked up a couple of seconds. Her sole failure was 12 months ago when she finished ninth in the Westbury Classic (1400m) at the Auckland Cup meeting.

“She had had enough by the time she got to the Westbury Classic and she was a bit weak at that stage,” said Sellwood. “But really 1200 is her go and not 1400.”

Petty Cury started her winning streak fresh-up at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, then won at Pukekohe in January and Ellerslie in February with Sellwood showing his characteristic patience in placing the four-year-old.

Petty Cury captured the Darley Plate by a mere nose from Durham Town, who was a late entry for the event. And Sellwood says he would have been annoyed if the verdict had gone the other way.

“When the nominations first closed for this race there were 11 entered so there was no reason for leaving them open,” said Sellwood. “It’s not as though there were only five or six entered. I can understand leaving noms open when they get small entries like that, but not when there is 11 entered. It shouldn’t have been left open. It’s nothing against Durham Town, but it’s wrong.”