I Am Invincible filly Celestial Harbour continued owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ impressive start to 2023 by adding a stylish success at Bendigo on Thursday, March 9.
Globally the Dubai-based owners are operating at around a 27.5% winning strike rate in the first two and a bit months of this year, with nine of their 14 starters finishing in the first three. As satisfying for the group is that three of those success stories are homebreds.
As was the case with Celestial Harbour, which never gave favourite backers any cause for worry on just her second start. Her natural speed from the barriers had her out in front throughout. By the time the field reached the turn, jockey Beau Mertens was still statuesque in the saddle while most of his rivals were getting to work. Timing their push for glory perfectly, the filly and her rider stretched away close home to record a visually impressive victory for Price-Kent Racing.
“Mick (Price) told me to give her the run of the race,” Mertens told Racing.com post-race. “She jumped well and took me to the front. I had a comfortable lead; she travelled beautifully and quickened up through the gears nicely, I thought. She was professional and did it well.”
Debut winner Secaution also added to Phoenix’s early-year stats by finding just one too good at Newcastle. In a race not run to suit, she and jockey Chad Schofield found themselves in front earlier than ideal in the home straight. Despite that, they only passed late to miss out by around a neck, with the first two home clear of the rest.