Keats chases biggest payday in the Coastal Classic

Keats has already done his job for The Mailbag Bloodstock team who race the gelding with Gavin Bedggood, but the Cranbourne trainer would like to think his biggest payday for the campaign awaits at Geelong this Saturday.

The seven-year-old will have what is most likely a final start before a summer freshen in the $300,000 Coastal Classic (1700m) that is the headline event of the new feature raceday.

Keats has been typically consistent in all four starts this preparation, winning the $150,000 Werribee Cup and placing in three Black Type races, but Saturday’s race is a drop in class despite being the richest race he’s contested since the $5 million All-Star Mile in March.

“It definitely didn’t hold up as strongly as I had anticipated it might have, but I’m definitely not complaining because he’s going to be one of the main dangers,” Bedggood said.

“He’s picked up $150,000 and he’s been competitive in three Stakes race from his four runs, so you’d probably have to say he’s going as good as what he ever has.”

Recruited to Australia by Mike Moroney, Keats was sold to The Mailbag Bloodstock for $25,000 via Inglis Digital midway through 2022 and has earned $447,525 while in Bedggood’s care.

He is joint-58kg topweight in the Coastal Classic with Junipal, whom he defeated in the 1600m Werribee Cup and also finished immediately in front of when third in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) last time out.

Keats has drawn barrier five in the field of 12 and while the likes of Rhinoceros and Independent Road should keep the noted on-pacer honest early, Bedggood is happy with the way the race shapes up.

“He doesn’t have to lead, he just needs to be a in a spot he can improve when he wants to improve,” he said.

Keats is one of two Bedggood gallopers who will carry The Mailbag colours at Geelong with another former Moroney-trained galloper Poland to debut for the stable.

He runs in the $100,000 The Valley Inn BM84 Handicap (1100m), which Bedgood expects to be too short for the son of So You Think, but the trainer has been happy with what he’s seen from him.

“I would think Saturday’s race would be a bit short for him, but it’s a kick off point for him and we can look to get to 1400 off the run on Saturday,” he said.

“He’s very bright and while I definitely don’t think he can win on Saturday, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t run well.”

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