A wet track at Grafton on Friday is music to Paddy Cunningham’s ears with his stayer Red Celtique, reports Racing NSW. Even a drying surface – heavy 8 at acceptances on Wednesday to a soft 7 on Thursday – hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm.

“She’s an absolute swimmer. The wetter the better,” the Grafton-based trainer said. “The mare is good at the moment. She’s ticked over nicely since last start and Friday does look a nice race for her.”

The seven-year-old mare by Oarsman tackles the Book A Carnival VIP Ticket Benchmark 57 Hcp (2212m) with Priscilla Schmidt in the saddle.

Most of Red Celtique’s form has been on wet tracks. In fact, Cunningham said until this preparation, the mare had never performed at her best on a dry racing surface.



Left: Red Celtique Trainer Paddy Cunningham

However, two starts back on her home track on March 20, Red Celtique scored a gutsy win in a 2350m Benchmark 56 event on a good track.

“The win surprised me a bit,” Cunningham admitted. “I was worried about the hard track.

“This preparation she seems to be handling all track conditions which she hasn’t really done before.”

Red Celtique is owned by Casino-based Kel Sherry and his family and has recorded seven wins and 18 placing’s from 67 starts. She thrives on racing and is backing up on Friday from her 6.2 lengths seventh to War Ends over 1610m at Grafton on April 2.

“She got too far back in a slowly run race and couldn’t sprint with them,” Cunningham said. “Back up to 2012 metres will suit her a lot better.

“She’s a mare that thrives on racing and the quick back up won’t effect her. The more racing she has the better she goes.

“Her work’s been good, albeit I haven’t done that much with her. She’s a lovely mare, easy to do anything with.

“Over the trip she should be midfield or closer and ready to pounce on them.”

Red Celtique has drawn ideally in barrier one.