Kersley training ends Respondent’s two and a half year drought

SIX-YEAR-OLD Respondent handed Fred Kersley his first win as the horse’s new trainer after the gelding surged late to topple race favourite Dark Alert in the Listed Tattersalls Cup (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday afternoon.

Superstar West Australian jockey William Pyke looked to have pinched the race aboard Dark Alert as the horse passed the 200m pole, but Respondent sprouted wings late to end a 959 day winless run.

Kia Ora Koutou emerged from the pack too late to be a winning chance, but hit the line strongly to claim third.

Chris Parnham – who was nosed out in the previous race by unbeaten colt Keeper Keen – was happy to get his name on the winner’s sheet for the first time on Winterbottom Stakes day.

“I thought I got there just on the line, but I wasn’t overly confident because I thought I got the last one as well,” Parnham said.

“It was good to get a win, I’ve had a bit of a rough trot since coming back to Perth but it’s good to get a winner.”

Respondent had not won since saluting in the W.A.T.C Derby back in April of 2014 – ironically piloted by on that day William Pyke – but after taking on the horse back in July, it took new trainer Fred Kersley just three starts to get the six-year-old back in the winner’s circle.

The champion trainer said there was plenty of symmetry around Respondent’s winning return.

“I am really pleased that after 959 days he’s found a way to win,” Kersley said.

“I have very strong memories of the day he beat me in the Derby with Ihtsahymn so he’s paid me back a little bit.”

Kersley believes the horse has what it takes to win more races in the future, but the challenge is on him finding the key to unlocking the inconsistency that has plagued the horse’s career to date.

“I think it’s more mental than physical with him about how he approaches his races, I think it’s only his fifth career win but he’s banked a fair bit of money,”

“He’s obviously a talented horse that’s probably a little bit unreliable … I’m so pleased he’s found a way to win.”

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