Jockey Peter Hall is confident his light weight chance in Saturday’s Railway Stakes 2014 Chester Road is a better bet in the Perth classic than his generous odds suggest.
Hall, 47, has been wasting to get down to the 53kg minimum to ride the Adam Durrant-trained seven-year-old in the $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) and is confident the effort will pay off.
Due to jump at 7:45pm (AEDT) as Ascot Race 8, this year’s Railway Stakes field features a capacity 16 starters plus four emergency runners needing an early scratching to gain a start.
Railway Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Tasmania’s cult galloper The Cleaner (58kg) at an easing $4.60 to win his first Group 1 and improve on a last start third in the Emirates Stakes over the Flemington mile on November 8.
Hall’s mount Chester Road meanwhile is at the opposite end of the Railway Stakes odds paying $31 to score an upset from his wide barrier 17, into 13, draw.
Barrier 13 has produced two Railway Stakes winners in the past 31 years and recent history shows roughies have a genuine chance in the classic.
Only one favourite in the past six years has taken it out with Luckygray (3/1 in 2011).
The past two editions have both been won by 20/1 outsiders when Mr Moet saluted in 2012 and Luckygray returned to become a dual Railway Stakes winner on non-consecutive years in 2013.
Now Hall is hoping Tiger Hill gelding Chester Road will be the next as he returns to the track for the first time in two years.
It will be a remarkable training effort from Durrant, who also saddles up 2012 champ Mr Moet ($13) for another shot this year along with Ranger ($34) jumping from barriers 14 and five respectively, if he is to get the veteran to win first-up off such a lengthy break.
Winner of the WA Stakes 24 months ago, Chester Road hasn’t raced since a second behind his stable mate Mr Moet in the 2012 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m).
He comes into Saturday’s race on the back of two trial runs at Lark Hill however most recently beaten only a quarter length when third over 1450m on November 3.
Hall, who missed six months of racing after a fall from Mighty Rossa at the track in December 2012, however must see more in the horse than the form and bookies are suggesting he’s capable of, the jockey rarely getting down lower than 55kg for any ride.
His lightest-weighted winner was Black Tom who he rode on 52kg to win the 2006 Perth Cup by six lengths.
He also got down to 52.5kg for 2003 Railway Stakes runner-up Early Express and 53kg when Ma Chienne was second behind Lords Ransom in the 2010 Perth Cup four years ago.
“Every now and again I have a crack at it (the light weight),” Hall said.
“It is the best my body has felt since I had that fall. I feel I am ready to really hit my straps.
“I have been riding at 55kg and feeling really good. It is just the one race, it’s a big day.
“I am riding for the leading stable so I have to have a go.”
Also wasting for this year’s Railway Stakes is Jarrad Noske who rides the Darren Mcauliffe-trained mare Fuchsia Bandana ($15) on 53kg.
Winner of the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) two back carrying 54kg with Noske in the saddle, her latest effort was a second behind Magnifisio in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on November 8 where Noske rode her on 57kg.
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