Karnup based horseman Grant Williams is preparing to saddle-up two livewire chances in the 2014 Belmont Oaks this Saturday including second favourite in the markets Midnight Shimmer.
The headline race in WA on the weekend, the $100,000 Listed Belmont Oaks (2000m) is shaping up as an exciting rematch between the two fillies that embarrassed the boys running the Belmont Guineas (1600m) quinella last time out.
Winner of that race by half a length in her black-type debut was the Adam Durrant-trained Tick Tick Bloom.
On Saturday she lines up over 2000m for the first time and is the odds-on favourite at $1.65 to secure the Guineas – Oaks double and her fourth straight win.
Distant $6.50 second pick in Belmont Oaks betting meanwhile is Williams’ well-tried Blackfriars filly Midnight Shimmer out to turn the tables on her last start conqueror.
On June 21 she finished half a length away second to Saturday’s favourite Tick Tick Bloom in the Guineas, improving with the blinkers on, and will be better over more distance on Saturday.
Williams though is still wary of the Guineas winner who came from last to run down his filly and come away with the win.
She’s got black-type form from Ascot having run in a number of stakes races during the autumn.
One of those was the Group 3 W.A. Oaks (2400m) on March 29 where she finished fourth behind Balmont Girl in an improved effort on her 14th behind the same filly the run before in the Listed Natasha Stakes (2200m).
While the Guineas was a little short for her liking the 2000m is sure to suit better on Saturday and if Tick Tick Bloom isn’t impressive over the distance, then Midnight Shimmer is the one to beat.
She’s joined in the 13-filly Belmont Oaks field then by stablemate Star Of Husson drawn in gate nine with Patrick Carbery riding.
Earlier this year the nicely bred daughter of Husson won three straight, back-to-back 1675m wins at Bunbury followed by an eye catching three and a half length romp over 2100m at Belmont in mid-May.
From there she ran fourth over 2200m back at the track behind Saxy Grace a fortnight later before her black-type test in the Listed Belmont Guineas.
She ran ninth that day beaten nearly six lengths, but it was the drop back from 2200m to 1600m rather than the class rise that got the better of her.
Star Of Husson then gets the chance to atone here as she sees more meters, paying $9 as one of five single figure chances in the markets.
“Adam’s horse [Tick Tick Bloom] looks hard to beat but our two have trained on pretty well,” Williams’ wife Alana told The West Australian this week.
“Star Of Husson didn’t handle the [Slow] track and Midnight Shimmer went super.”
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