Stokes happy with Instant Celebrity ahead of Let’s Elope Stakes

Instant Celebrity
Instant Celebrity will carry a top weight of 59kg in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes this Saturday. (Racing Photos)

Robert Sangster Stakes-winning mare Instant Celebrity will look to add another win to her career record in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington this Saturday.

Trained by Phillip Stokes, the four-year-old has already won five of her nine career starts, placing in three others and running fourth once, amassing over $700,000 in prizemoney.

After a slashing first-up run when third to Probabeel in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 28, the daughter of Not A Single Doubt should now relish getting out to seven furlongs on a big track.

Instant Celebrity nearly made it back-to-back Group 1 victories during South Australia’s May Carnival but was unable to reel in Savatoxl in the Goodwood Handicap after she came from last at the 800m to finish second, beaten only two lengths.

“She’s done good, worked good this morning, so we feel she’s relaxing nicely and the 1400m at Flemington on the nice big track should be good,” Stokes told SEN Track.

“It’s going to be a very competitive race, but we’ve bought her along nicely and I’m really looking forward to her stepping out.”

Instant Celebrity will drop 1kg in the weights on Saturday after having to carry 60kg in the Cockram Stakes a fortnight ago.

“She carried equal weights with Probabeel – she’s an elite Group 1 horse, so that showed me all the right signs,” Stokes said.

“She just hit a bit of a flat spot, came hard again, and I think it was just the weight that anchored her a bit.

“It was the first time she had to carry a weight like that, so yeah, couldn’t be happier.”

Stokes gave Instant Celebrity a nice tick-over trial on Tuesday morning, saying that he rarely asks for much from her as “she’s a clean-winded mare”.

Although Instant Celebrity drops down in the weights from her first-up run, the 59kg that she has been allocated will still see her at the top of the scales in a quality field that includes Mystic Journey, Still A Star and Annavisto.

The strength of the race is no surprise to Stokes, as the winner will be eligible for a $1 million prizemoney bonus if she also takes out the Empire Rose Stakes on Derby Day.

“You’re getting all these good horses going to it, but that’s what it is and she’s hopefully one of them,” he said.

Instant Celebrity has drawn wide in barrier 13 and will be ridden once again by Craig Williams, who has won twice on the mare from three rides.

Markets are yet to be released after the final acceptances for the Let’s Elope Stakes, but Instant Celebrity was a $4 all-in favourite on Wednesday morning.

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