10/19/2010 12:41PM

Celtic Conviction caps big day for Doyle

Michael Burns
Jockey Emile Ramsammy guides Celtic Conviction to a 43-1 longshot victory in the $252,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Sam-Son Farm has had more than its share of Cup and Saucer success, with a total of 13 winners including seven straight beginning in 1994. But with that outfit lacking a starter in last Sunday’s running of the $252,000 turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, it was up to trainer Michael Doyle to keep the tradition alive with a Sam-Son-bred, Celtic Conviction.

Making his fourth career start for Doyle and partner Bill Duffy, Celtic Conviction was coming into the Cup and Saucer off a maiden score for $32,000.

Sent off at 43-1 for Sunday’s stakes debut, Celtic Connection led through most of the 1 1/16 miles and was 1 1/2 lengths the best under rider Emile Ramsammy.

Sam-Son had entered Celtic Conviction in last fall’s select yearling, but the colt did not meet his $13,000 reserve.

Doyle, who had been in attendance, approached the consignors shortly afterward.

“I liked the horse and bought him privately,” Doyle said.

Doyle sent Celtic Connection to the nearby farm of Richard Hogan.

“Richard broke him; he did a great job,” Doyle said. “He stayed at the farm all winter and came in to the track early.”

Celtic Conviction debuted here May 30, finishing seventh in an Ontario-sired maiden race at 4 1/2 furlongs.

“I wanted to get a race into him,” Doyle said. “He showed a little bit.”

Doyle wanted to see more, however, and when Celtic Conviction returned to the races in an open maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf here Sept. 11 he was a gelding.

Celtic Conviction finished eighth that day, beaten 10 lengths, but Doyle was far from discouraged.

“His race was much better than it looked,” Doyle said. “He got stopped a couple of times.”

When Celtic Conviction was back at the races four weeks later, he was stretching out to a mile and 70 yards and was in for a $32,000 claiming price.

“He’d worked unbelievably the week before,” said Doyle, who had watched Celtic Conviction stalk the pace in that maiden race and hold on gamely after taking the lead to prevail by a neck.

“I thought it was a very good race.”

Still, the Cup and Saucer had not been Doyle’s initial stakes target for Celtic Conviction.

“I had in mind the Frost King,” said Doyle, who nominated Celtic Conviction to that seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds here Nov. 3.

“But then I looked at the Cup and Saucer and thought it would be okay. I knew he liked the turf, even though his race on it didn’t show it.”

As it transpires, Doyle could enjoy the best of both worlds as Celtic Conviction could return in the Frost King as a stakes winner with $171,800 in earnings next to his name or could await the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Nov. 7.

The Cup and Saucer was the highlight of a perfect day for Doyle, who was 3 for 3, with his other winners being the 3-year-old filly Amiable Grace in a first-level allowance and the 3-year-old gelding Gold Xchange in a $12,500 maiden claimer.

Celtic Conviction was the second Cup and Saucer winner for Doyle, who had sent out out Pyramid Park to capture the 2005 running at 53-1 for owner Thor Eaton. The Cup and Saucer was Doyle’s second stakes win of the meeting.

Dancing Raven, a homebred 3-year-old filly who races for Bill Graham, had won the restricted La Prevoyante over one mile of turf here Sept. 11 and has finished second, third, and fourth in three other stakes appearances while banking a total of $192,770.

The $150,000 Jammed Lovely, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies here Nov. 17, is Dancing Raven’s next stakes target.

Happy Clapper, an Ontario-foaled 3-year-old filly, also has been a productive performer for Doyle this year, with earnings of $145,772.

Owned by John Lally, Happy Clapper has won twice and finished second in two turf stakes, the Wonder Where for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies and the open Flaming Page for fillies and mares.

Happy Clapper is a candidate for the $175,000 Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares here Nov. 6.

Ave heading to Japan for QE II

Ave, who upset Belmont’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl in her last start, is slated to make her next appearance in Japan’s $2.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup.

A victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, run over 1 3/8 miles of turf on the right-handed Kyoto Racecourse on Nov. 14, would be worth $2 million to Ave, including a $1 million bonus that she would earn as the Flower Bowl winner.

A second-place finish would net Ave $400,000 plus a matching bonus, and a third-place finish would be worth $255,000 plus the same amount in bonus money.

Ave, based here with trainer Roger Attfield, is to begin her arduous journey with a van ride to Chicago on Nov. 2.

Flights from Chicago to Anchorage, Alaska, and hence to Tokyo, where Ave would be quartined for two days, would be next on her itinerary, with the final leg another lengthy van ride south to Kyoto.

Golden Moka eyes Discovery

Golden Moka, winner of Fort Erie’s Prince of Wales before finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, could make his next start in Aqueduct’s Discovery on Nov. 20.

The 1 1/8-mile Discovery, restricted to 3-year-olds, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $100,000.

Golden Moka, who is trained here by Brian Lynch for the Good Friends Stable, also was nominated to Sunday’s $100,000 Mobil, a new overnight turf stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles that will require a field of at least five to be carded.

Lynch, however, ruled out the Mobil after watching Golden Moka breeze six furlongs in 1:18 on a training turf course rated good here Monday.

“It was hard to tell much because the dogs were out, the turf was soft, and he had no company,” Lynch said. “It wasn’t a bad work, but I wasn’t really happy with it.”