Top Perth hoop Troy Turner is after back-to-back victories in Saturday’s feature race, the 2014 Hyperion Stakes, jumping aboard Kalahaar in the Belmont Park showdown.
Twelve months ago Turner guided the now eight-year-old Black Tycoon, last seen running second to Outback Joe in the Adelaide Cup, to victory in the $125,000 Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m).
He gets a chance this weekend then to defend his title having been booked by connections to ride the Steve Wolfe-trained Choisir five-year-old Kalahaar.
Hyperion Stakes odds are firmly led by Grant Williams’ $1.60 favourite Elite Belle.
The in-form Canny Lad mare earned top spot in Hyperion Stakes betting following a cruisy two length win at the track last time out in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m).
Turner’s 2014 Hyperion mount Kalahaar also comes via that same traditional lead-up race having run second to Elite Belle.
After their first win since the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m) over fellow Hyperion hope Settle Strada ($13) in September last year, Kalahaar has a jockey change for the weekend.
Their regular rider Sean McGruddy, aboard for 16 of their 20 starts to date, has been replaced by Turner who jumps aboard the gelding for the first time here.
The decision to swap McGruddy, now without a ride in the small seven-horse Hyperion Stakes field this year, was made by Kalahaar’s managing owner Lex Piper.
It’s also a move their Albany-based trainer Wolfe agrees with and hopes will give them the edge to close the gap on their last start conqueror.
“He’s going all right, but the favourite will be hard to beat again,” Wolfe said of Kalahaar speaking to The West Australian.
“He’s got to turn around the two-length margin from last time and give away a couple of kilos.
“He probably has to improve about three and a half lengths to win.
“He’s working well, but at the weights the favourite looks like she’ll win again.”
The weight disadvantage Wolfe spoke of for Saturday is certainly notable.
In the Belmont Sprint both Elite Belle and Kalahaar had 54kg, but on Saturday the favourite gets in with 57kg under the weight-for-age conditions while Wolfe’s horse has two kilos more.
Wolfe though did have luck last time Turner filled in on one of his horses.
Back in April Turner rode Mr Utopia to victory in the York Stakes over the Ascot mile in April when standing in for the then suspended McGruddy, Wolfe hoping history can repeat itself here.
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