A diminutive field helped local Ascot-based horseman Dion Luciani score an Group 3 upset in Perth over the weekend with his veteran sprinter Akhedasset beating home Vaughn Sigley’s short priced stars in the Saturday showdown.
A lead-up to the bigger and richer features of the upcoming 2015-16 Perth Summer Racing Carnival, this season’s weight-for-age $150,000 Group 3 ADD Energy Group Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) ran with just four starters.
Markets were dominated by Sigley’s returning Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes winning mare Magnifisio ($1.95) and fit stablemate Dawn Approach ($2).
In a gun of a ride from jockey Glenn Smith however, a bustling finish resulted with former Kalgoorlie-trained Akhedasset ($13) on top crossing a long-neck in front of Dawn Approach with Magnifisio a half-head further back for third.
Luciani only took over the preparation of Akhenaton seven-year-old Akhedasset last month when his former trainer Peter Fernie transferred him following a close second to Royal Rada over 1400m in black-type company back home.
Following a disappointing eighth at Belmont over 1200m on October 10, Akhedasset returned to form in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, Smith moving the horse from last-to-first in a big upset.
“I rode my first winner for Peter Fernie in Kalgoorlie and we have been good mates ever since,” former jockey Luciani said post-win on the weekend.
“He has been like a mentor to me when I’ve got myself into a bit of trouble.
“He had a couple of weeks off before the Hannan’s (Handicap on September 24) but since the Hannan’s he has been just ticking over at the stable.”
The two top fancied runners on Saturday looked to be travelling sweetly to the line, but the challenge came from the back runner who moved up to the leaders and pressed forward for the Group 3 trophy.
The Prince Of Wales Stakes finishing order was rounded out by the outclassed race roughie Zester, the Dan Morton-trained 41/1 shot over seven lengths from the winner in fourth.
Akhedasset has now won 10 of his 51 career starts for $372,765 in prize money for connections including Neil Warburton of Corporate James fame in Kalgoorlie during the 1990s.
Scratched from the feature race in Perth on Saturday was the Grant Williams-trained Al Maher mare Delicacy, a winner of her six most recent runs all in black-type company.
After blistering success in WA during the autumn including the Group 3 WA Oaks – Group 2 WATC Derby double over the 2400m at Ascot she travelled to Adelaide.
At Morphettville in May she became an elite level winner taking out both the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) defeating Fenway and the Group 2 SA Derby (2500m) over Werther with Peter All in the saddle.
A minor flesh wound ruled her out of a return in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, her Karnup-based trainer instead trialling her on Monday.
WA’s ace hoop William Pike was booked for Delicacy first-up but still enjoyed a stellar on the track.
Dominating the Ascot meeting he rode five winners from six rides on the card including the day’s opener – the $60,000 Savanna home Loans Plate (1100m) – aboard a close relation to Delicacy.
Williams’ Beneteau three-year-old Universal Law made it three-from-three with the win over High Tea, the half-brother to Delicacy setting himself for a top three-year-old season over the summer.
Pike’s other Perth winners on Saturday were on race favourites Mississippian (Race 2), Special Delivery (Race 4), Neverland (Race 6) and odds-on fancy Illuminated for Adam Durrant in the last over 1800m who is shaping up as a chance for the $1 million Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 5.
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2015 Prince Of Wales Stakes Results
Ascot Race 3 – 24/10/2015
|1||3||AKHEDASSET||Dion Luciani||Glenn Smith||–||4||58.5kg||$13|
|2||1||DAWN APPROACH||Vaughn Sigley||Takahide Ikenushi||0.45L||2||58.5kg||$2|
|3||5||MAGNIFISIO||Vaughn Sigley||Jason Brown||0.5L||1||56.5kg||$1.95F|
|4||2||ZESTER||Daniel Morton||Ms Jerry Noske||7.25L||3||58.5kg||$41|
|–||4||DELICACY||Grant Williams||William Pike||–||0||–||–|