Sellwood’s reason to smile

Valedictory lived right up to the pre-race expectations of punters and connections when recording the most impressive win at Te Rapa today.

Trained at Cambridge by Don Sellwood, Valedictory started a hot favourite on debut and he simply annihilated his opposition in the Race A Horse With Te Akau 1200, going straight to the front, easing clear early in the run home, and scoring by four and a half lengths.

With rider Mark Du Plessis taking five glances behind in the final 300 metres to check on the opposition, Valedictory cruised clear and went to the finish untested to run the 1200 metres in 1:9.50.

“I expected him to do that,” said Du Plessis. “He had been very impressive in his work and though he didn’t beat much today he did it easily. It was just a track gallop for him.

“He’s a natural athlete and he can find another second on that time, that’s for sure.”

Valedictory had made one previous public appearance and that was 13 months ago when scoring at the Te Aroha trials by seven lengths over 800 metres in the hands of James McDonald.

Sellwood, showing his typical patience, bided his time with Valedictory and waited until today to test him out. “He just needed a bit of time,” he said.

Sellwood is never one to get carried away with a horse’s potential. He would rather wait for results on the racetrack and after today’s win his smile told the story.

“Trials are trials and until they race you just don’t know how good they are,” he said after the race. “He looks good now. You’ve got to start somewhere and he’s won well. He did it easily.”

Valedictory is a four-year-old son of Exceed and Excel and is raced by a syndicate which includes his New South Wales-based breeder.