Can Caitlyn Crack Egg Spot?

WHEN you speak to Shayne Stiff about Caitlyn Keeping it doesn’t take long to establish both he and partner Charmaine are full of fondness for their Golden Easter Egg hopeful.  

Adam Dobbin

12 April 2019

WHEN you speak to Shayne Stiff about Caitlyn Keeping it doesn’t take long to establish both he and partner Charmaine are full of fondness for their Golden Easter Egg hopeful.

“She’s not the fastest dog in the world but she gives you 110% every time she races, we wouldn’t swap her for the world,” declared Stiff in the lead up to Saturday night’s Group 1 Golden Easter Egg semi-finals at Wentworth Park.

Winner at 19 of her 43 starts, including the Group 2 Black Top at Ladbrokes Gardens last September, Caitlyn Keeping returned from a six week break at Wentworth Park on Saturday night, running Melbourne and Australian Cup runner-up Black Opium to a length in 29.84.

And for a stride or two turning for home turn, the daughter of Fabregas looked to have the race in her keeping, before going down ever so gallantly after setting a scorching pace out in front.

“We were rapt with her run – the winner is a hot bitch, we couldn’t have been prouder,” said Stiff of Caitlyn Keeping, returning off two busted toes suffered in February over the Australian Cup carnival.

“She went into Saturday off just a slip from the pen, a post-to-post and a box-to-box. That was all she’d had so the last bit was always going to be the worry. It is with her even when she’s fully fit in that class but she gives you her all.

“Being realistic she’s never going to run you your 29.50. 29.80 basically pulls her up but she’ll run you 5.40 odd early say 7 times out of 10 and that’s what we’re looking for Saturday night, hopefully that’s good enough to get across.”

Winner of the Bathurst Cup in February, heading into that series off a fall in the final of the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder at Wentworth Park in January, Caitlyn Keeping tackles the fourth and final Egg qualifier on Saturday night, quoted a $10.00 chance with bookmaker Bet365.

Heading the market is Million Dollar chase winner Mystic Riot at $3.00, just ahead of Miss Splendamiro, eyeing back-to-back Golden Easter Egg berths, at $3.10. Next best in the market is Whiskey Riot at $8.50.

“If Caitlyn didn’t draw the red we wanted the pink – our chance is if we can get to the front and there’s a bit of trouble behind, but in saying that we still want a good, clean race,” pointed out Stiff.

“If she leads – which is her only hope – and one of those dogs get right behind her then we’re in trouble. But in these races, with so many good dogs, there can be some interference. I can’t fault how she’s pulled up from last week, she’s bouncing around ready to go.”

Stiff and Roberts are hoping that next week’s Easter Saturday extravaganza of racing proves just as fruitful as 2018 did, Simon Keeping a barnstorming winner of the Group 1 Association Cup.

“It would be great to have a runner in the Easter Egg,” said Stiff.

“I know we’ve got the Million Dollar Chase now which has the dollars but as far as prestige goes, every trainer wants to win an Easter Egg. It’s the pinnacle for NSW racing, right up there with the Melbourne Cup.

“We reared Mystic Riot and Whiskey Riot for Colin and Sandra (Bermingham) so if we can’t win on Saturday we’ll be cheering for them with that connection.

“She was always a beautiful bitch Mystic Riot and Whiskey Riot was always the pick of the Fernando Bale litter. Sometimes you can just tell.”