Owner-breeder Bob Peters has confirmed Saturday’s CB Cox Stakes 2014 at Ascot Racecourse will be the final run this campaign for his Railway Stakes winning mare Elite Belle.
Twelve months ago the Grant Williams-trained daughter of Canny Lad finished a disappointing ninth when beaten six lengths by Ihtsahymn in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) during the Perth Summer Racing Carnival.
This year the six-year-old is travelling and performing better according to Peters who is confident she can win her first race over further than 1800m on the weekend.
“She is going better this year than she was last year,” Peters told the West Australian.
“She has never won beyond 1800 metres but she has run well at these distances.”
As a three-year-old she ran third to Pop Culture in the Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) and she was also beaten under half a length when third in a Perth Handicap at Belmont Park last July over 2100m.
“Three-year-olds can run in Oaks and derbies because they have brilliance, but they are not true stayers,” Peters added.
“It is the only option available to her so she’ll go in it and we’ll see if she can defy her breeding.”
First-up winner of the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) over star Perth sprinter Barakey this season, Elite Belle also won the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) by three-quarters of a length over Balmont Girl on November 22.
From there she stepped up in distance for the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) but could only manage to run two and a half lengths off the Chris Waller-trained Sydney winner Moriarty.
That was an improved effort on her sixth to Ihtsahymn in last year’s Kingston Town however, and one that gave Peters confidence heading into her second Cox Stakes assignment.
Elite Belle has five times been tested over further than 1800m but not since CB Cox Stakes Day last year.
She carried 57kg in the Kingston Town and has the same again here in under the weight-for-age conditions of the race.
Last time out her regular rider William Pike jumped off to ride stable mate Disposition who crossed a nose away second in the Kingston Town Classic – Elite Belle ridden by Peter Hall.
For the CB Cox Pike is back aboard with Elite Belle drawn ideally in gate four.
After this weekend the mare will be sent out to the paddock for a well-earned spell, Peters never considering a New Year’s Day run in the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) where she would have been outrun and out-weighted.
Saturday’s CB Cox Stakes field attracted 14 final acceptors this year including the reigning champion Ihtsahymn in barrier six, Railway Stakes runner-up Balmont Girl and Bass Strait coming off a sixth in the Kingston Town Classic.
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