Kelley’s amazing dead-heat feat

The saying to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ has never encapsulated a horse race more than the feat achieved by Cooma trainer David Kelley and his son Matthew on Friday at Canberra.

Kelley’s stablemates Super View ($31) and Lady Animalia ($61) were friendless in the market when lining up in the 1300m maiden on a heavy 9 surface. What transpired was almost certainly unique in Australian racing, two rank outsiders from the same stable hitting the line in unison to dead-heat in a quinella which paid $225.

“I don’t know if you would call it an achievement, but it’s an extremely irregular occurrence,” Kelley said. “I asked the steward yesterday if he had heard of anything like it before and he hadn’t.

“We looked it up on Wikipedia and we know dead-heats aren’t that common, but we couldn’t see anything about the same stable dead-heating.

With Super View being beaten 6L in identical conditions at the track last time, and Lady Animalia making her stable debut as a 26-start maiden, punters could be forgiven for overlooking the pair. Early in the straight the top two in the market led and looked as though they were set to go on with it and tussle out the finish, this was before Kelley’s runners quickly picked up approaching the 200m and began to run on gamely down the outside.

In what was an astonishing spectacle, the stablemates swept to the front passing the 100m and careered away to hit the line locked together, over 3L in front of the race favourite in third.

“We’ve had some good wins — I won the Snake Gully Cup with a horse called Supreme Butterfly back in 2000 and he won two Sunday races in Sydney,” Kelley said. “But that was pretty good the other day, there’s no doubt about that.”

Although trained under Kelley’s name, the Cooma local is quick to praise the efforts of his son Matthew.

“Matthew is the foreman at Canberra. He does all the work with them, so he gets most of the credit,” Kelley said. 

“It didn’t quite click for a minute that the horse on the inside was actually Super View. The red and white colours on Lady Animalia are my own colours, so I know them pretty well, but I just didn’t realise for a minute that the other colours were actually ours.

“We had them both in mind for the upcoming Saturday’s Sundowners Cup at Cooma, but of course they both broke their maiden Friday so neither of them are now eligible for that race.”

In what capped off a great week for the Kelley stable, the father and son duet had four runners contest, resulting in three winners and a placing. 

“Every win is exciting for us because we are only a small stable. Particularly when we are trying to establish ourselves a bit more and get a few more decent horses in here now that we’ve gone from Cooma to Canberra,” Kelley said.

“Basically, everything we’ve got is second-hand tried horses. Hopefully people take notice of Friday’s win and see that it was a 26-run maiden we’ve lifted and won with.”

The dead-heat victors now look set to build on their maiden successes, as they are likely to take their places at Wagga in a Class 1 Handicap on Monday.