Grant Williams’ improving three-year-old Elusive Image scored their maiden stakes victory at Belmont Park over the weekend beating home a top field in the 2012 Belmont Classic.
The Elusive Quality gelding improved leaps and bounds on their last start eighth in the Dayana Plate relishing their first look at the 2200-metres in the $80,000 Listed Belmont Classic on Saturday.
Reuniting with jockey William Pike, who was last aboard for their other most recent win at Ascot back in April, the youngster proved their staying potential with Elusive Image ($10) crossing a quarter length ahead of Belmont Oaks winner and $1.60 favourite Rantorini.
The Paul Roberts-trained Shoot For Glory ($6) then finished off the winning Belmont Classic trifecta a further length away in third while the Fred Kersley-trained duo Ready On Time ($12) and Confianza ($9) who finished in a photo for fourth and fifth two lengths off the winner.
It was a gun ride from ace hoop Pike who took Elusive Image down the outside from their wide barrier 10 draw, the duo coming from dead last on the turn for home to win.
Pike has now ridden 68 winners in Perth for the season and only returned home last Monday following a three month stint in Hong Kong.
He currently holds a five-win lead over Peter Knuckey in the Perth Jockey Premiership which finished on July 31 with just two meetings at Belmont left for the season.
“I’m pleased to win the Belmont Classic for Elusive Image’s owners Bob and Sandra Peters,” Pike said on Saturday.
“I won two races on this horse before going to Hong Kong.”
Elusive Image has now won three of their 11 career starts for $164,225 in prize money and looks on track for an end of season return for the 2012 Perth Summer Racing Carnival where they could target events including the $80,000 Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2100m) at Ascot Racecourse on Railway Stakes Day, Saturday November 24, 2012.
Pike went a step further and suggested Elusive Image could also make a nice hope for the $400,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on New Year’s Day.
“Elusive Image cruised up today and accelerated on turning for home,” he said after the weekend’s win.
“He could be a Perth Cup hope.”
See below for the full 2012 Belmont Classic results and finishing order.
Black type racing on the eastern side of Australia will continue this Saturday with the $80,000 Listed Beaufine Sprint (1000m) at Belmont.
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2012 Belmont Classic Results & Finishing Order
Belmont Park – 21/07/2012
|1||1||ELUSIVE IMAGE||Grant Williams||William Pike||–||10||56.5kg||$10|
|2||9||RANTORINI||Phil Humann||Shaun O’Donnell||0.5L||2||54.5kg||$1.60|
|3||3||SHOOT FOR GLORY||Paul Roberts||Ms Kyra Yuill (a)||1.5L||6||56.5kg||$6|
|4||10||READY ON TIME||Fred Kersley||Steven Parnham||2L||4||54.5kg||$12|
|5||4||CONFIANZA||Fred Kersley||Jarrad Noske||2L||5||56.5kg||$9|
|6||8||MASTER MCRAE||Lou Luciani & Dion Luciani||Clint Harvey||3.5L||7||56.5kg||$41|
|7||7||SOFTEIS||Lou Luciani & Dion Luciani||Jason Whiting||4.25L||9||56.5kg||$31|
|8||5||WONORG||John Bowtell||Peter Knuckey||5.25L||3||56.5kg||$12|
|9||11||TWIKKEY||Greg Carige||Jason Brown||9.5L||1||54.5kg||$61|
|10||6||RIVERBANK FRANK||Fenella Martin||Troy Turner||11.5L||11||56.5kg||$31|
|11||12||FIVE INCH HEELS||David Harrison||Patrick Carbery||12.25L||8||54.5kg||$31|
|–||2||OPERATIONAL||Fred Kersley||Paul Harvey||–||10||–||–|