Geisel Park struck for the second time at Belmont this week when Count The Sessions won the TABtouch Hcp (1400m) with something in hand on Wednesday.
The Holly Taylor-trained sprinter-miler was coming off a Northam breakthrough earlier this month and his connections have every right to believe there’s more wins in store this season. Once a one-dimensional front-runner in the Great Southern, he has learned to relax and made the most of the box seat under Clint Johnston-Porter on Wednesday.
“Clint told me he wanted to sit one-out and one-back,” Taylor revealed. “I was shocked when he said that but then I was excited when they made that winning move down the straight.
“I’ve had to re-educate him and it’s been a bit of a project getting him to settle with cover. He can be quirky but I’ve worked him out and now we have a good relationship. I don’t hassle him and he doesn’t hassle me!”
Holly Taylor leads Count The Sessions back to scale at Belmont (Photo / Western Racepix)
Count The Sessions (6g Sessions – The Count’s Muse by Viscount) was bred by Geisel Park and is the first foal from an unraced half-sister to multiple Perth Group winner Famous Roman (Danetime) and Malaysian Stakes-winner Power For Glory (Danewin).
The Count’s Muse has a 3yo All American filly All Counts that was retained by Geisel Park and a Maschino 2yo colt with trainer Michael Lane. Her yearling is another filly by All American.
Count The Sessions races for a syndicate managed by Johnston-Porter’s agent Adam McGrath. “He was going to be retired but I told Adam there’s was no harm giving him a second chance and training him differently. It’s been a learning curve but he’s flying now.”
Geisel Park’s Group 1 racehorse and sire All American landed the first-leg of the double on Saturday when General Grant returned to winning form in the Drummond Golf Hcp (2200m). It also put the Stephen Miller-trained stayer back on track for another crack at the LR Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m) on October 7.
General Grant last saluted at Belmont just prior to the 2022 Kal Cup. He started a $3.70 favourite in the Goldfields race-of-the-round but didn’t fire after a hind-leg complaint forced him out of a vital dress-rehearsal in the LR Boulder Cup (2100m).
“He’s turned the corner after two conditioning runs and the boss definitely wants to go back to Kalgoorlie,” stable foreman Josh Crispin declared. “He’s a big horse and today’s run will help take the weight off. I galloped him on Monday and he’s coming to hand and feeling much happier within himself.”
Miller won the signature event on the Goldfields calendar in 1992 with Signpost (Serheed) and he’s handled the 6yo gelding patiently for Horseshoe Investments owner Rod Russell.
General Grant’s dam Soldier’s Smile (Soldier’s Tale) is a half-sister to Éclair Mystic (LR MRC Zeditave Stakes). Second-dam Leica Smile (At Talaq) won a G1 Australian Oaks and is related to Leica Lover (Latin Lover) who won a G1 WATC Derby for Bart Cummings
“We drew well and followed the speed off an even tempo,” jockey Micheal Poy said. “They rolled along then backed off so I popped out early and he really attacked the line to win well.”
All American (Red Ransom) stands for a $4,400 fee at Geisel Park alongside Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago) at $8,250 and newcomer Aysar (Deep Field) at $8,800. All fees (inc GST).