Grant Williams’ in-form mare Elite Belle will look to keep the good times rolling in the Hyperion Stakes 2014 this weekend at Belmont Park following her Belmont Sprint win at the track last time out.
Canny Lad five-year-old Elite Belle is one of just seven middle distance gallopers engaged for this year’s edition of the $125,000 Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) in Perth.
She’s sure to start favourite too after winning two of her past three starts.
On New Year’s Day she beat them home in the Listed La Trice Classic (1800m) before returning four and a half months later at Belmont Park in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m).
First-up over the shorter distance she was far from disgraced when runner-up beaten just a long neck by Magnifisio.
Then on May 31 she relished the rails draw in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) to beat home Kalahaar by two lengths, an effort she’s out to repeat this weekend.
Due to be ridden by William Pike again, Elite Belle has come up trumps with barrier one for the second time in a row and should get things all her way in the Hyperion.
If successful on the weekend, the mare’s owner Bob Peters will then back her up in the $125,000 Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) back at the track on June 28.
“The mare was only racing second-up and looked ready for longer distances,” Peters told The West Australian speaking of her Belmont Sprint victory.
“She’ll be ideally suited by two-week spaces between the sprint, Hyperion and Strickland.”
Belmont Sprint runner-up Kalahaar is also backing up in Saturday’s feature, Steve Wolfe’s Choisir five-year-old drawn one outside their last start conqueror in barrier two.
The two other most notable Belmont Sprint graduates looking to turn the tables on Elite Belle on Saturday are then When We Were Kings (4th) and Ranger (5th).
Greg Kersley’s McFlirt six-year-old When We Were Kings was only two and a half lengths away in the Sprint but will have to improve notably to close that gap when going up in distance to the mile on Saturday.
Ranger meanwhile is a rising eight-year-old from the Lark Hill stables of Adam Durrant who also ran fifth in the Roma Cup, the veteran shooting for just their seventh victory at career start number 36 here.
He’s also owned by Peters who expects improvement from last start.
“He should appreciate the weight-for-age conditions in the Hyperion,” Peters said.
Rounding out this year’s Hyperion Stakes field are then the Fred Kerlsey-trained Grand Nirvana, Neville Parnham’s resuming seven-year-old Bridgestone and Belmont Sprint sixth placed Strada gelding Settle Strada.
Settle Strada, an eight time winner at the track, goes up over the mile for the first time here, a distance their trainer David Harrison is tipping them to enjoy.
“He’s never raced over 1600 metres, but I reckon he’ll fight on well,” Harrison said.
See below for the full Hyperion Stakes 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weight-for-age allocations.
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2014 Hyperion Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Belmont Race 5 (2:30pm local) – 14/06/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||x8x5406x98||GRAND NIRVANA||Fred Kersley||Chris Parnham (a)||3||59kg|
|2||336x430x55||RANGER||Adam Durrant||Peter Hall||5||59kg|
|3||219x00495x||BRIDGESTONE (NZ)||Neville Parnham||Brad Parnham||6||59kg|
|4||111260×506||SETTLE STRADA||David Harrison||Patrick Carbery||7||59kg|
|5||6x72215x62||KALAHAAR||Steve Wolfe||Troy Turner||2||59kg|
|6||112488×224||WHEN WE WERE KINGS||Greg Kersley||Shaun O’Donnell||4||59kg|
|7||1221691×21||ELITE BELLE||Grant Williams||William Pike||1||57kg|