Belmont Specialist Grand Nirvana has taken out the 2011 edition of the Roma Cup at Belmont.
It was Grand Nirvana’s second win in the Roma Cup, with the first coming in 2009 when he was a three year old. The classy five year old also finished third in 2010.
Grand Nirvana, who was super impressive in a barrier trial on the Monday before the race, took his amazing record to six wins and a third from eight starts at the Belmont track.
Grand Nirvana, who was racing without blinkers for the first time, rallied strongly in the final straight to overcome Power Princess (2nd, $2.90) and King Kool Kat (3rd, $9.00).
Despite his excellent record at the track Grand Nirvana was virtually friendless in betting, blowing to $14.00 by the time the race jumped.
Trainer Fred Kersley had only one instruction for jockey Daniel Staeck, and that was to stay away from the fence.
Kersley was represented on track by his daughter Karen who said Staeck did a wonderful job at positioning the horse.
“His (Staeck’s) only instruction was to stay off the fence. He probably got into trouble in some of the big races last year. He does love the Belmont track a bit better than the Ascot one,” said Ms Kersley.
Staeck said that Grand Nirvana had returned a much more mature galloper since his last Belmont preparation.
“The horse has probably matured a little bit. He’s a little bit different to the seasons we’ve raced him before at Belmont. Fred and I were both of the opinion he was better off without blinkers at this stage of his life and he raced true,” said Staeck
“It’s probably one of the best Roma Cups I’ve been in so it’s a feat to pull it off.”
Grand Nirvana has now won $860,000 in prize money and seems destined to become one of the few horses to make a million dollars by only racing in WA.
In other news out of the Roma Cup, the career of Famous Roman appears to be in serious jeopardy after the stallion finished a disappointing last.
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