This Saturday a full field of milers will line up in Perth’s sole million dollar race, the 2011 Railway Stakes, one visitor out to upset the local hopes being Roger James’ New Zealand-based galloper He’s Remarkable.
The $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) this year attracted 16 starters plus two emergencies, four-year-old Pentire entire He’s Remarkable installed as the third favourite to take out the race through Luxbet.
Trailing only the Grant Williams-trained boom runner Ranger ($3.50) and in-form grey Luckygray ($5.50), He’s Remarkable is paying $6.50 to score their first thoroughbred major on Saturday.
A winner of five of their 14 starts to date, He’s Remarkable has been in career best form this season winning three of their four spring assignments.
After back-to-back wins back home in New Zealand, He’s Remarkable was bought over to Melbourne where they ran a respectable third to Testa My Patience in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
They were last seen narrowly hanging on to win a 1600 metre Flemington handicap on Emirates Stakes Day, November 5, when ridden by Darley’s regular rider Kerrin McEvoy for the first time.
“I thought it was a very good performance at Flemington,” James, who arrived in Perth on Monday night, said.
“In comparison with the Emirates, his sectionals fared well even though he carried 59kg and was held up.”
It was a small consolation prize for James after He’s Remarkable was balloted out of the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), which was their original season grand final aim, the trainer only selecting the Railway as a goal in the eleventh hour.
“When he didn’t get in (to the Emirates Stakes), I thought, ‘Why not Perth?’” James said.
McEvoy retains the ride for the Railway Stakes on Saturday, James hoping this will be the key to success, as will the drop back from 59kg last start to a far more manageable 53kg on Saturday.
“Kerrin was keen to come over and ride him and I was rapt that he was able to commit,” James said.
“He’s a professional, he does his homework, he knows the course, he knows more about it than what I do.”
In the exact opposite of the ‘visitor’s draw’, He’s Remarkable is set to get the inside running from barrier one on Saturday and James said that they would need a bit of pace in the race.
“He gets back in his races,” he said.
“I understand there are three or four locals who will push forward, so hopefully the speed will be on.
“It’s obviously difficult to line up the form against the locals, but from perspective, the horse has been here a week and is going well.”
He’s Remarkable was one of the most impressive track workers at Ascot’s Breakfast with the Stars on Tuesday, James saying the horse had come through their first look at the track well.
“It was nice solid work,” he said.
“He’s pulled up very well.”
James’ long-term goal with He’s Remarkable is the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 21, 2012, during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
That goal was another reason for tackling the Railway.
“The NSW handicapper told me with his present rating he wouldn’t have got in last year’s Doncaster,” James said.
“We can still get home a week after this run and give him a month in the paddock and then still have a four month preparation for the Doncaster, so time-wise it works out well.”
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