Bunbury trainers Bruce Watkins and Gary Hitchcock look to have a genuine 2013 Railway Stakes chance in veteran galloper Kerrific who scored a narrow win in last Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot Racecourse.
Improving leaps and bounds on their first-up ninth in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) the Blackfriars seven-year-old raced into Railway contention with their quarter length RJ Peters Stakes victory as a $12 shot.
Ridden by Peter Hall on a big 59.5kg impost the always honest gelding defeated Grant Williams’ Canny Lad mare Elite Belle ($4.60) while the winning RJ Peters Stakes trifecta was finished off by the $2.70 favourite Rohan who was a length off the winner in third just a nose ahead of Fred Kersley’s 61kg topweight Grand Nirvana.
It was a stellar effort from a horse who under six months ago was fighting to ever race again after suffering a hairline leg fracture, and one that even had their trainers surprised.
“I didn’t think he could win with the weight,” co-trainer Watkins told The West Australian on Saturday.
Now a winner of 13 of their 39 career starts for over $565,000 in prize money Kerrific, who improved on their fourth in the RJ Peters from 12 months ago, will be stepped up in class this weekend for a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) back at Ascot.
“After last week’s run he pulled up really well and I put him in the Peters,” Watkins, who prepared the RJ Peters Stakes – Railway Stakes double winner El Presidente (2007), said.
“If he pulls up well he’ll definitely go there (Railway) but we’ve had to rush him through this campaign.
“He had two trials the week after one another and then raced the same week and backed up again.
“He’s a pretty sound horse but he just had an accident in the paddock after his last campaign.”
It will be the horse’s third run in as many weeks since returning from a five month break, and their first Group 1 assignment, but the bookies are taking no chances with Kerrific slashed in the pre-field Railway Stakes odds.
Before the weekend they were longer than $31 in betting but are now paying $13 in Railway Stakes betting markets led by Wez Hunter’s Emirates Stakes runner-up Smokin’ Joey ($5.50).
If all goes to plan Kerrific will be ridden by Daniel Staeck in the Railway, the jockey having ridden them to victory in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) back in June.
Their RJ Peters winning hoop Hall meanwhile will be aboard the defending Railway Stakes winner Mr Moet who is at $12 to go back-to-back.
The other top fancies for the lucrative WA classic at $7.50 each are then Queensland mares Fire Up Fifi ($7.50) and Longport ($7.50).
Saturday’s beaten RJ Peters Stakes favourite Rohan, who was caught up at a critical stage hampering their chances of a Railway Stakes ballot exemption with a win, meanwhile is in danger of missing out on a start in this weekend’s classic.
Railway Stakes final acceptances close this afternoon with the final field to be published soon after here at Races.com.au.
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2013 RJ Peters Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Ascot Race 7 – 16/11/2013
|1||2||KERRIFIC||Bruce Watkins & Gary Hitchcock||Peter Hall||–||3||59.5kg||$12|
|2||6||ELITE BELLE||Grant Williams||William Pike||0.35L||5||54kg||$4.60|
|3||4||ROHAN||Vaughn Sigley||Glenn Smith||1L||1||54.5kg||$2.70|
|4||1||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Paul Harvey||1L||6||61kg||$13|
|5||7||FANICIO||Simon Foster||Ms Kyra Yuill||1.25L||9||54kg||$15|
|6||5||COMFYSOFA||Simon A Miller||Peter Knuckey||1.25L||10||54kg||$7|
|7||13||WILD CHARGER||Peter & Matthew Giadresco||Shaun O’Donnell||1.5L||2||54kg||$13|
|8||12||RED BLAST||Daniel Morton||Chris Parnham (a)||3.25L||8||54kg||$21|
|9||10||POP CULTURE||Colin Webster||Patrick Carbery||7.5L||4||54kg||$31|
|10||11||REBELSON||Darren Mcauliffe||Jarrad Noske||7.5L||7||54kg||$8.50|
|–||9||LUKE’S LUCK||Daniel Morton||Shaun Mc Gruddy||–||5||–||–|
|–||3||VERMEER||Bruce Watkins & Gary Hitchcock||Jason Whiting||–||2||–||–|
|–||8||KEEPERS COURT (NZ)||Adam Durrant||Ben Paterson (a)||–||7||–||–|