Two horses in a diminutive Lee Steere Stakes 2015 field at Perth’s Ascot Racecourse are battling for top spot in the early betting markets for the weight-for-age feature this weekend.
There are only seven horses in the mix for Saturday’s $250,000 Group 2 Waroa Lee Steere Stakes (1400m), running as Ascot Race 5 at 3:05pm (local), with Black Heart Bart ($2.60) and Delicacy ($2.80) the two best in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Due to jump from barrier four with Glenn Smith in the saddle, current narrow favourite Black Heart Bart is looking to keep his flawless record this time in intact.
A five-year-old son of Blackfriars, the Vaughn Sigley-trained gelding won the Listed Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Belmont first-up before enjoying his fifth win at his 16th start at Ascot on October 21 in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1420m).
He boasts a strong 1400m record at the track then of two wins and two seconds from four starts that he carries into Saturday’s race, and the bookies are taking no chances.
Hot on Black Heart Bart’s heels in Lee Steere Stakes betting though at $2.80 is the returning Grant Williams-trained Al Maher mare Delicacy.
She makes her delayed four-year-old debut at a track she has enjoyed six wins from 10 starts at, back in Perth after winning the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) – Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) double in Adelaide last time out in May.
Perth’s premier hoop William Pike takes the mount on the super-consistent $1.44 million earner for the first time since guiding Delicacy to victory in both the Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) and Group 2 WATC Derby (2400M) double over the mile and a half in the autumn, the 1400m her only concern.
Two others in the field are also under double figures for the win with Justin Warwick’s Northerly Stakes runner-up Wink And Nod ($3.90) out to turn the tables on her last start conqueror and stablemate to the favourite Magnifisio ($9) whose lead-up run was a third in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) at the track on October 24.
With such an open field and betting markets, who do you back and who do you sack in your Lee Steere Stakes bets this weekend?
#1 Black Heart Bart ($2.60)
Really hard to suggest any value in the markets with the deserving favourite shaping up as hard to beat. Weight-for-age suits and the lead-up form is spot-on. The distance is also ideal (6-3-2-0) with just one unplaced run for the horse over the 1400m, and his Northerly Stakes win at an even shorter price at the track and distance last time out showed he could handle what is thrown at him. He’s classy and versatile and the one to back.
#4 Delicacy ($2.80)
Think the bookies have this spot on with top class mare Delicacy drawn a treat in gate two for her first-up run. Pike is in flying form and this mare flies fresh with a strong first-up record (3-2-1-0). She was meant to return earlier so will be bursting out of her skin to hit the track off a trial win on November 2 and is a dual interstate Group 1 winner. She did a demolition job on all she met as a three-year-old and no surprises if she does the same as a more furnished four-year-old over the summer.
#7 Wink And Nod ($3.90)
McFlirt mare was only a half-length off Black Heart Bart in the Northerly last time out but is up in weights. She’s got a solid record here and distance is one of her preferred, and was in flying form earlier this season at Belmont with a trio of black-type wins so a top three finish looks all but confirmed.
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