Veteran Perth horseman Gino Poletti has removed the blinkers and will put winkers on his roughie 2014 CB Cox Stakes hopeful Classique Ivory in the Ascot Racecourse feature this weekend.
Poletti saddles-up the Savabeel six-year-old from the outside barrier in the $250,000 Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) on Saturday.
There are 13 stayers in the mix for the Perth Summer Racing Carnival classic now following the early withdrawal of the Paula Wagg-trained Balmont Girl.
Runner-up in the Railway Stakes to Elite Belle two back, WA Oaks winner Balmont Girl races instead in the Listed WA St Leger (2100m) facing off against Real Love – both mares 2015 Perth Cup-bound on New Year’s Day.
Favourite for the January 1 feature, Real Love comes off a victory in the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2200m) from Ascot on December 6.
Also coming out of that race is Poletti’s gelding Classique Ivory who finished a disappointing but not unexpected 11th, beaten over 11 lengths.
It has been a little while between drinks for the galloper who hasn’t won a race since his half-length effort over Operational to win the Listed Bunbury Cup (2200m) in mid-March.
He was lame after the race but still managed to back up 17 days later and finish a brave fourth behind Malaika in the Listed Pinjarra Cup (2300m) in his final autumn run.
This time in his form has been less promising with five unplaced runs, three of which saw him finish 11th or worse in big fields.
Classique Ivory is one of the real outside chances then for the CB Cox Stakes this weekend paying $51 through Ladbrokes.com.au in markets led by Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle ($2.80).
Other single figure hopes in the weight-for-age feature include Neville Parnham’s RJ Peters Stakes winner Bass Strait ($4.40), market mover Ihtsahymn ($6.50) back defending his title after winning this race last summer on the back of a Group 1 Kingston Town Classic victory and Mr Moet ($8).
Leading up to his chance at atonement, Classique Ivory was put through his paces on the Ascot grass on Tuesday morning.
Poletti had the winkers on there and was pleased with the work leading him to keep them on for the weekend’s assignment.
“I feel he was getting too comfortable in his races,” Poletti told The West Australian.
“He wore blinkers until 10 starts ago.
“With winkers they don’t pull as hard and you can take them off straight away where you can’t do that with blinkers. He clipped up in his work well on Tuesday.”
Before the Bunbury Cup, the horse’s other most recent trip to the winner’s stall was in September last year when he came from a wide gate to take out the Listed Kalgoorlie Cup (2300m).
Portelli believes he is travelling similar to his lead-up into that race this summer and remains hopeful of an improved run in the Cox Stakes.
“His form is similar to before he went to Kalgoorlie,” he said.
“He needs to have those four to five runs before he starts to hit his straps.”
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