A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
Which hoops will be aboard which fillies in Saturday’s 2013 Belmont Oaks in WA is beginning to take shape with likely favourite Summah’s Touch to be ridden by apprentice jockey Ben Paterson.
While the official field for the $80,000 Listed Belmont Oaks (2000m) is still pending, trainers of the major players in the winter classic have already locked in their riders.
Despite not being allowed to claim in the set weights showdown, Paterson will retain the ride on the Adam Durrant-trained Blackfriars filly Summah’s Touch.
First-up winner of the Listed Belmont Guineas (1600m) at Belmont Park on June 22 when beating home the boys, Group 3 WA Oaks runner-up Summah’s Touch will again be ridden by Paterson who did a great job in her resuming run.
“Ben earned the Oaks mount on Summah’s Touch when he rode her to win last Saturday week’s Belmont Guineas,” Durrant said.
“We’re happy to have him on the filly and she’s doing everything right in training.”
Summah’s Touch is almost certain to start at the top of the Belmont Oaks odds after her last start victory, the flying filly well suited to the set weights conditions where she will meet her rivals equal on 55.5kg.
“All Oaks runners will carry 55.5kg,” Racing and Wagering WA chief handicapper David Hunter said on Tuesday.
“If it was a handicap, I would allocate Summah’s Touch 62kg.
“The second topweight would be Finality on 54.5kg and others would all have the 54kg minimum.”
Durrant will also be represented in the Belmont Oaks field this weekend by two other hopefuls with Saxy Grace and Redwood Rose.
Saxon three-year-old Saxy Grace comes off an eight to Fashion Princess in a 1700m handicap at the track last month when ridden by Paterson but will have Peter Hall aboard here as she goes back up to the 2000m, a distance she won over at Pinjarra two back.
Redwood Rose meanwhile was sixth in that same race but beaten under two lengths with Daniel Staeck aboard who will be replaced by Peter Knuckey in the Oaks.
While confident his other two fillies will be competitive, Durrant doesn’t think they will be any match for their Guineas winning stablemate.
“I anticipate good runs by Redwood Rose and Saxy Grace,” Durrant said.
“They are genuine stayers. But I don’t expect them to beat Summah’s Touch.”
Lou & Dion Luciani’s WA Oks third placegetter Pants On Friar meanwhile will also have a jockey change with Jason Whiting, aboard in the Group 3, losing the ride to Jason Brown.
“I think Jason Brown rather than Jason Whiting is best suited to Pants On Friar,” Dion Luciani said.
“It’s a strong Belmont Oaks field, however Pants On Friar is a genuine chance.”
Pants On Friar will start from the inside alley on Saturday.
Dual Perth Cup winning jockey Whiting meanwhile will still have a Belmont Oaks mount having committed to ride the Gary Crispin-trained Charm Destiny who was third to Fashion Princess at the track last start.
Fashion Princess also backs up in the Oaks and will have William Pike in the saddle as the Grant Williams-trained daughter of Iffraaj vies for back-to-back wins at the track.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the official Belmont Oaks 2013 final field and barrier draw due for release shortly.
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