The Grant Williams-owned Respondent is out to prove his staying ability to owner-breeder Bob Peters with a strong performance in Saturday’s 2014 WA St Leger at Ascot Racecourse.
Only seven horses are nominated for this year’s $100,000 Listed W.A. St. Leger (2100m), which runs as one of the main support acts on the CB Cox Stakes Day line-up on the weekend.
Already Railway Stakes runner-up Balmont Girl is a confirmed non-acceptor as she takes on Elite Belle, who beat her home in Perth’s richest race two back, in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) instead.
Last start Queen’s Cup winning mare and red hot favourite for the 2015 Perth Cup on New Year’s Day, Real Love is also in danger of missing the St Leger with Peters to possibly take her into the January 1 classic without another lead-up.
With or without Real Love’s acceptance, Peters and Lark Hill-based trainer Williams will have representation in the diminutive WA St Leger field with Haradasun gelding Respondent.
The four-year-old showed staying ability as a three-year-old earlier in the year but has been somewhat disappointing since over distances Peters thought he might enjoy.
“I thought he would run well in the 1600 and 1800 metres but he hasn’t done as well as he did in his earlier races,” Peters told Perth Racing this week.
He first stakes win was in the Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) over the mile in March after which he continued to rise through the ranks as he stepped up in distance with a Listed JC Roberts Stakes (1800m) win, a close third to Ihtsahymn in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) and then his one and a quarter-length victory in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) on April 12.
Respondent has had five runs since this time in but is yet to win again since his Derby triumph.
His best result of the spring – summer season so far was a second when beaten just half a length by Bass Strait, a top three chance in Saturday’s CB Cox Stakes, in the Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m) four weeks ago.
From there he went to the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) but could only manage to run seventh to Elite Belle before an equally flat 13th behind Chris Waller’s winner Moriarty in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 6.
He was beaten six and a half lengths that day, an effort Peters is hoping he can improve on when given some extra metres on Saturday in the St. Leger.
Respondent will be ridden by Brad Parnham again this weekend, Parnham aboard for his past two runs in the place of William Pike who is on standby for the St. Leger ride on stable mate Real Love.
Peters other notable representatives on the CB Cox Stakes Day program this weekend include Jungle Mist Classic winner Antique Belle and Jungle Dawn Classic champ Real Charm in the $100,000 Listed Starstruck Classic (1600m), and Winterbottom Stakes third placegetter Shining Knight in the $100,000 Listed R.S. Crawford Stakes (1000m).
Stay tuned to see who is in and out of the WA St Leger 2014 field.
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