Keeper Keen overcomes wide barrier to maintain unbeaten run

PROMISING two-year-old Keeper Keen maintained his unbeaten run to take out the Champagne-Crystal Slipper at Ascot on Saturday as the $2.40 favourite.

The colt by Sebring had to do it tough from the wide alley, surging to the front of the race early in the piece, which was a direct contrast to his maiden victory where he settled off the speed and charged home late.

Keeper Keen looked to be getting swamped in the last 200m as first starter Riasc ($6) loomed on the outside, but the Daniel Pearce-trained favourite held on to nose out his rival in a photo finish.

Rubia Miss toughed it out after leading for the majority of the race to finish third and return $1.90 for the place at

The win handed Keeper Keen his second win from as many starts.

Jockey Jarrad Noske said the two-year-old colt’s performance proved he has what it takes to be a horse to follow going into the future.

“He done it the hard way today,” Noske said.

“[The horse got] an easier run last start but he’s proven today how good he is and I was rapt with him.”

The 24-year-old said he was not optimistic that the two-year-old was travelling well enough heading into the latter stages of the race to salute, but the horse responded as the line drew close.

“Not really to tell you the truth,” Noske said of his confidence levels heading into the straight.

“I could hear [jockey Chris Parnham] coming, and he was travelling okay but it didn’t feel like he had a whole lot there, but he just kept finding and finding for me so credit to him.”

Trainer Dan Pearce said there is plenty of positivity around Keeper Keen after the horse’s robust display, which contrasted the style of his maiden victory.

“It was pretty impressive and they were two totally different wins,” Pearce said.

“It shows his versatility and he’s got a lot of upside.”

The trainer said the camp was hopeful there is still plenty of racing left in the colt in the near future, but said he is mindful of pushing the prodigious runner too hard so early in his career.

“We just take it day-by-day with two year olds and the welfare of the horse is always paramount for us,” the trainer said.

“We’ll just assess how he pulls up from this and move forward.”

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