Royal Academy gelding Conservatorium (Royal Academy – Belong To Madam, by Belong To Me) made the most of even luck to score a deserved win in Saturday’s Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich.
Conservatorium has raced in wonderful heart in the 2012/13 season with fighting efforts in top company on Perth, Adelaide and Queensland. The five-year-old was a nose away from a start in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) but a deceptive photo went against him in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) on June 1.
However, Conservatorium had things go his way at the barrier draw when he drew barrier four, a contrast from drawing gates 16 and 14 in the Group 1 Goodwood and QTC Cup respectively.
The perfect barrier gave jockey Joe Bowditch a chance to position Conservatorium behind the front-runners for the first 900 metres before easing the five-year-old into clear running approaching the home turn.
Conservatorium’s 59kg handicap and the slow track proved no barrier as the chestnut sprinted brilliantly to easily break a winning drought stretching back to the 2011 Durbridge Stakes.
“Everyone including me thought he’d won the QTC Cup and it cost him a run in the Stradbroke,” trainer Gary Kennewell said. “I was glad we didn’t need a photo finish today. I couldn’t go through that again.”
“He started off a bit weedy but he’s really strengthened up in the past 12 months and turned into a really nice horse.”
Conservatorium has earned more than $140,000 in his two Queensland outings but Kennewell said he would give the gelding a chance to continue his profitable campaign up north before preparing him for another trip to Perth for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in November.
“I’ll nominate him for the Healy Stakes next Saturday and if I decide to run him I won’t need to do much with him because he’s rock-hard fit,” Kennewell said.
“We got a free ticket out of the Goodwood to run in the Winterbottom and he’ll probably have one lead-up run in Melbourne beforehand.”
Conservatorium cost Kennewell just $50,000 at the 2009 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale but the rising six-year-old’s latest success took his prizemoney tally to more than $490,000.
Conservatorium is one of four winners from as many foals to race out of the stakes-placed mare Belong To Madam (Belong To Me – Madam Zoffany, by Zoffany).