This Saturday Ascot based Perth trainer Simon Miller will launch a two-pronged attack on the 2014 Belmont Classic confident his duo can feature in the staying showdown with favourite Tick Tick Bloom withdrawn.
Rival horseman Adam Durrant was forced to scratch his Belmont Guineas – Belmont Oaks double winning filly Tick Tick Bloom from Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Belmont Classic (2200m) after she was found to be suffering from a bruised hoof.
With the odds-on favourite out of the mix there are 11 remaining Belmont Classic hopes this weekend including two from Miller’s stables.
Miller has accepted for Shalo as well as Mystical Miss who is one of four fillies taking on the boys and looking to continue the ace record of their kind in the race with three of the past four Belmont Classic winners being fillies.
Of the two Shalo is likely to be the shortest priced in the Belmont Classic odds that are set to be dominated by their last start conqueror Proceedwithcaution.
The Darren McAuliffe-trained Trade Fair gelding Proceedwithcaution looks the one to beat on Saturday after improving on a Belmont Guineas fifth to storm home at the track on Oaks Day.
Running faster timer than Tick Tick Bloom in the day’s feature, Proceedwithcaution enjoyed a big two and a half length win in 2:09.34 in the Dayana Plate (2000m).
They get a chance to go back-to-back then on the weekend as they step up to 2200m for the first time.
Dayana Plate runner-up Shalo is also set for the rematch where Miller believes the two time winner will be ready to improve over the extra 200 metres.
“Shalo has improved again on his last run and he is enjoying his training over the longer distances,” Miller told The West Australian this week.
In their run before the Dayana Plate they won by two lengths at the track over 1650m and will again be ridden by Peter Knuckey.
Miller’s other Belmont Classic hope is then More Than Ready filly Mystical Miss having her 12th career start.
An expensive yearling buy for $425,000 at the 2012 William Inglis And Son Easter Sales, she’s won three of her previous starts most recently over 1603m at Pinjarra on July 3.
Mystical Miss kicked off her career in Melbourne under the tutelage of Peter Moody for whom she managed just the one win when taken to Adelaide in June last year.
She then spent the summer with Grant Williams when first transferred to WA for two disappointing runs finishing nearly 12 lengths off the winner in both her Ascot starts.
Things started slowly on the back of a six and a half month spell for her third trainer Miller then, but having only now just gotten out over more distance he expects her to continue to improve.
“All three of Mystical Miss’ runs [this preparation] have been good,” he said.
“She may not ever reach the heights her pedigree suggests, but she has warranted her step up in distance.”
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