Stephen Wolfe is quietly confident of an upset in Saturday’s Belmont Classic in Perth, the Albany-based trainer believing in the untapped potential of his Pins gelding Stompin.
One of two headline races at Belmont Park on Saturday along with the Beaufine Stakes, this year’s $80,000 Listed Belmont Classic (2200m) attracted a final field of 14 three-year-olds.
In a wide open market where four contenders are at single figure odds to win, a longer-priced Belmont Classic hopeful is the strong-willed Stompin ($17).
Drawn well in barrier two with heavyweight hoop Peter Hall to ride, Stompin seeks their second career win in nine starts on Saturday.
Purchased for $14,000 as a yearling, Stompin has been a frustrating asset for connections with a record of inconsistency that Wolfe is hoping to correct over the coming seasons.
They were a flop on debut finishing dead last when beaten 13 lengths by All Friared Up in a Westspeed Nursery Handicap (1200m) at Belmont on July 10.
Four months in the paddock followed and Stompin returned with a new-found focus.
After a good second over 1300 metres at Mt Barker, Stompin broke their maiden status next start with an impressive four length victory in the Magic Million Sales Maiden (1300m) in January of this year.
Since then they have started another five times, their best finish being a brave third to The Other Harv when stepped up to 1650m for the first time last month.
Stompin’s final lead-up to their black-type debut in the Belmont Classic tomorrow was the Dayana Plate (2000m) at Belmont on June 9 where they finished three and a half lengths away seventh to Black Moment.
Still, Wolfe is keeping his chin up and expects to see plenty of improvement tomorrow.
“He does a few things wrong this horse but if he puts his best foot forward he’ll go well,” Hall said.
“Thankfully he drew well and if he can settle he’ll run a big race.”
Favourites in the Belmont Classic betting markets are Elvstroem filly The Other Harv ($4) in the far outside barrier, outstanding Belmont Oaks winner Miss Tipsy Topsy ($4.20), in-form Blackfriars gelding Black Moment ($4.60) and the Tony Noonan-trained Group performer Ladysea ($6.50).