The punters were rewarded early in 2015 in WA thanks to a clear win by the short-priced favourite Real Love in the Perth Cup at Ascot Racecourse on New Year’s Day.
Adam Durrant’s in-form mare, who paid $2.40 for the win, scored her third on the trot when beating home the Daniel Morton-trained C.B. Cox Stakes runner-up Red Blast ($9) by one and a half lengths in Thursday’s $500,000 Group 2 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) in a genuinely gutsy effort.
Finishing off the 2015 Perth Cup trifecta two and three quarters off the winner was then Arthur Mortimer’s five-year-old gelding Kirov Boy ($13) who came off a blistering seven and three-quarter length win in the A.T.A. Handicap (2200m) at the track from December 24.
A four-year-old daughter of Desert King, Real Love won the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2200m) on December 6 and the Listed W.A. St. Leger (2100m) a fortnight later leading up to her big Perth Cup victory.
In the W.A. St. Leger she carried 56kg to victory and so relished the drop back to the 54kg minimum on January 1 with Perth’s leading hoop William Pike in the saddle.
Pike and Real Love were away from the barriers lightning fast and in a surprising move she was taken up front in a pacesetting position she hadn’t been in before, but Pike kept his cool.
“You can’t panic and it is what it is but it’s the last place I thought I would be,” Pike said post-win.
“But you can get away with it when you have a good horse who is in form.”
Subsequent third placed Kirov Boy was the expected frontrunner and he was putting the pressure on the favourite and race leader mid-way through the race after his hoop Danny Miller moved him up from the back of the pack.
At the top of the straight though Kirov Boy didn’t have the finishing edge to go with the top mare who then had to hold off another challenger in Red Blast, the Universal Prince gelding given an ace ride by his regular hoop Jerry Noske.
“I thought Kirov Boy was going to go past us but she kicked and was very strong,” Pike said.
Around the corner Noske had Red Blast positioned in second with Real Love looking a touch vulnerable after straightening, but her class prevailed and she had enough left in the tank to take off for a final burst to win drawing away from her rivals.
In fourth behind Kirov Boy who did extremely well to hold onto third was then Lucciola.
The Perth Cup was Real Love’s third look at the 2400m at Ascot following a W.A. Oaks second and third to Respondent in the W.A.T.C. Derby during the autumn.
While there were some queries how she would go in an open field of older rivals over the distance, she showed no fear and she lead all the way from an ideal barrier four starting position to give Pike his second Perth Cup trophy following his victory aboard the Lindsey Smith-trained Crown Prosecutor (2005).
It was also the incredible 15th win from the 31 feature races at Ascot this season won by Real Love’s owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters who celebrated their fifth Perth Cup victory and second with Durrant who prepared their 2010 champion Lords Ransom.
Real Love has now won five of her 13 starts and finished top three is six more giving her a total of $656,310 in prize money earned.
She also continued the success of Perth Cup winning mares following the recent victories in the Perth Summer Racing Classic of Talent Show (2013) and Western Jewel (December, 2011), the latter owned by the Peters.
A possible autumn target for her this year could now be a trip to South Australia for a shot at the $400,000 Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville Racecourse in March.
“She is showing exceptional things,” her happy trainer Durrant said.
“There is no reason why she couldn’t be competitive in the right race over east.”
Last year’s Perth Cup winner Black Tycoon made the interstate trip for that two mile clash and ran an excellent second behind Outback Joe when beaten only a neck.
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2015 Perth Cup Results & Finishing Order
Ascot Race 8 – 01/01/2015
|1||13||REAL LOVE||Adam Durrant||William Pike||–||4||54kg||$2.40|
|2||14||RED BLAST||Daniel Morton||Ms Jerry Noske (a)||1.5L||7||54kg||$9|
|3||10||KIROV BOY||Arthur Mortimer||Danny Miller||2.75L||11||54kg||$13|
|4||11||LUCCIOLA (IRE)||Justin Warwick||Ms Lucy Warwick (a)||4L||2||54kg||$21|
|5||3||CHESTER ROAD||Adam Durrant||Peter Knuckey||6.25L||1||58kg||$51|
|6||15||RESPONDENT||Grant Williams||Brad Parnham||6.25L||10||54kg||$5|
|7||4||BALMONT GIRL||Paula Wagg||Shaun O’Donnell||7.25L||13||57kg||$7|
|8||12||OPERATIONAL||Fred Kersley||Daniel Staeck||7.5L||12||54kg||$41|
|9||17e||STARLIGHT LADY||Karen Kersley||Ryan Hill||7.5L||8||54kg||$51|
|10||9||GOD HAS SPOKEN||Neville Parnham||Jarrad Noske||8L||9||54kg||$31|
|11||5||ASK ME NICELY (NZ)||Fred Kersley||Troy Turner||9L||6||54kg||$31|
|12||2||IHTSAHYMN||Fred Kersley||Steven Parnham||9.5L||5||58.5kg||$10|
|13||1||MR MOET||Adam Durrant||Peter Hall||9.75L||3||59kg||$21|
|14||6||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||Neville Parnham||Chris Parnham (a)||9.75L||16||54kg||$21|
|15||8||GLOBAL FLIRT||Justin Warwick||Willie White||10.25L||14||54kg||$71|
|16||16||SON OF SOMETHING||Justin Warwick||Damian Lane||16L||15||54kg||$14|
|–||18e||BEDAMIJO||Tara Itzstein||Shaun Mc Gruddy||–||3||–||–|
|–||7||CLASSIQUE IVORY (NZ)||Gino Poletti||Patrick Carbery||–||11||–||–|