While the major race meeting of the weekend will be Queensland’s Doomben 10,000 Day, Perth’s Belmont Racecourse will also be host to a Group race day with the 2012 Roma Cup taking centre stage.
Set to run as Belmont Race 7 at 4:00pm (WA time) this year’s edition of the $125,000 Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) has drawn a small but classy field of nine sprinters.
Back to defend their title is reigning Roma Cup winner Grand Nirvana, Fred Kersley’s Scenic six-year-old racing for the first time since a failed Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
Twelve months ago Grand Nirvana won the Roma Cup first-up before going on to also salute in the Belmont Sprint.
After two failed runs in Melbourne when 16th of 17 in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) behind Woorim at Caulfield in February and then 19th of 22 behind Hay List in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemignton on March 10, Grand Nirvana resumes racing back at home on Saturday.
Due to be ridden by Steven Parnham Grand Nirvana has drawn nicely in barrier two.
Last year’s Roma Cup runner-up Power Princess has also been accepted again this year, Simon Miller’s Marwina mare coming off a disappointing eighth to Bonnie Mac in the Listed Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville.
It is shaping up as a strong Roma Cup on Saturday with other big name entries including Luckygray and Zester
The Gino Poletti-trained Bradbury’s Luck four-year-old grey Luckygray was in flying form during the spring winning four on the trot including the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in a controversial protest over He’s Remarkable.
They were last seen finishing fifth to Playing God when stepped up to the 1800-metres and drawn in the far outside barrier for the Group 1 Kingstown Town Classic on December 3.
Undefeated first-up Luckygray is sure to start near the top of the Roma Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au for this weekend, the ultra-consistent galloper drawn in barrier eight with Shaun O’Donnell to ride.
Dan Morton’s Danewin five-year-old Zester has come up trumps with gate four for Saturday as they seek successive stakes wins at the track having won the Listed H.G. Bolton Sprint (1200m) at Belmont on May 12.
Grant Williams meanwhile will be dually represented in the Roma Cup 2012 with his two hopefuls Dreamaway and Avante.
More Than Ready mare Dreamaway was one of the best horses getting around this time last year winning five successive black type features including the WA Oaks and Group 1 WATC Derby.
She moved from Williams’ care to that of Mornington horseman Dean Binaisse for a stint during the spring but failed to recapture her Perth form when running at the back of the field in her three starts in Melbourne having suffered from travel sickness.
Dreamaway’s most recent effort was 12th to King Mufhasa in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Back with Williams connections are hoping the four-year-old can get back to the business of winning WA races this weekend, but he has his doubts after her average barrier trial at Belmont back on May 14.
“Sometimes three-year-olds don’t come back at four, you just don’t know,” owner Bob Peters said.
“It (the trial) was just average. It didn’t impress me very much.
“The race is a bit short for her and she’s been out a long time.
“The next one, the Belmont Sprint, might be better for her.”
The $125,000 Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) runs on June 9, when Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Racecourse comes to life for Stradbroke Handicap Day.
Her stablemate Avante meanwhile comes off better form having run a close first-up second to Zester in the HG Bolton Sprint last time out.
“I thought she ran really well and she usually does first-up,” Peters said.
“But it’s pretty hard for her now she’s up in the ratings and at weight-for-age.”
The full 2012 D’Orsonga Roma Cup field, barriers and jockeys can be found in the table below.
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2012 Roma Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Belmont Race 7 – 4:00pm (WA time) – 26/05/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight|
|1||3X2231X00X||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Steven Parnham||2||58.5kg|
|2||142X11115X||LUCKYGRAY||Gino Poletti||Shaun O’Donnell||8||58.5kg|
|3||X645X940X8||HADABECLORKA||Brent Larsson||Glenn Smith||6||58.5kg|
|4||32534X2123||OUR OL’ FELLA||Steve Wolfe||Shaun Mc Gruddy||3||58.5kg|
|5||04114X047X||LATE NIGHT FLIGHT||Suzanne Forrest||Willie Arnold||9||58.5kg|
|6||N0X5115631||ZESTER||Daniel Morton||Campbell Mc Callum||4||58.5kg|
|7||11111X800X||DREAMAWAY||Grant Williams||Paul Harvey||5||56.5kg|
|8||12X4X21538||POWER PRINCESS||Simon A Miller||Peter Knuckey||7||56.5kg|
|9||4X104364X2||AVANTE||Grant Williams||Peter Hall||1||56.5kg|