This Saturday a field full of Kingston Town Classic stars and 2014 Perth Cup-bound hopes are set to square off in the $225,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) including Grant Williams’ talented mare Elite Belle.
One of a dozen acceptors for the 2013 CB Cox Stakes field on the weekend, the five-year-old daughter of Canny Lad is on trial for the $400,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) back at Ascot Racecourse on New Year’s Day.
In the futures Perth Cup odds Elite Belle pays $11 occupying the fifth line of betting in markets led by Kingston Town Classic third placed Rohan ($4.60).
Williams’ galloper also contested the Group 1 Kingston Town over 1800m earlier in the month where she ran a brave sixth beaten just two lengths.
That came off a winning effort over 1400m at the track a fortnight earlier when she defeated Luke’s Luck by one and a quarter lengths in the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m).
Now Elite Belle steps up to 2100m on Saturday, a distance she last saw at Belmont Park back in July when defeated under a half length to run third to Bentonian.
She’s been competitive right up to a mile and a half too having run third to Pop Culture in last year’s Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) as a three-year-old.
Elite Belle however failed her next 2400m assignment when she beat home just two rivals to run 12th behind Rohan in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) in April of 2012.
The CB Cox Stakes and then, all going to plan, the Perth Cup will give her a chance to atone for that run.
Williams is confident she’s in the right form for a shot at the double starting on Saturday where she’ll jump from barrier five with William Pike aboard.
The mare’s owner-breeder Bob Peters will wait until after her CB Cox Stakes performance to decide whether she’ll press onto the Perth Cup.
“We’ll see how she goes handling the distance,” Peters told The West Australian.
“She got over it when she was young but that doesn’t mean they get it when they’re older.
He’s could already be represented in the January 1 classic by Moonlight Bay a $31 outsider last seen running eighth in the Kingston Town.
“The Cox Stakes is the best stepping stone to the Cup and if her and Moonlight Bay did go reasonable, they’ll be suited dropping back to the handicap,” he said.
Moonlight Bay is in gate seven with apprentice hoop Chris Parnham booked for the ride on the weekend.
Perth Cup favourite Rohan meanwhile has come up with the inside alley for the Cox Stakes.
The two to beat in the Perth Cup lead-up however are three-year-old Ihtsahymn (barrier two) and multiple Group 1 champion Luckygray (barrier four) who ran one-two in the Kingston Town Classic on December 7.
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