Vaughn Sigley’s flying Perth star Black Heart Bart is onto the 2015 Railway Stakes on November 21 after an impressive win over the weekend in the $250,000 Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot Racecourse.
Continuing his undefeated run this time in, the Blackfriars five-year-old backed up off two earlier stakes wins for the season, including the Group 2 Northerly Stakes (1420m) in late October, to beat home stablemate and the defending champ Magnifisio ($14) by a quarter length in the weight-for-age clash on Saturday.
In third finishing off a tight Lee Steere Stakes trifecta where only three-quarters of a length separating the first three over the line was the race’s $2.40 favourite, the returning Grant Williams-trained Schweppes Oaks – SA Derby double winning mare from the winter Delicacy.
Black Heart Bart settled off the pace set by the all-throughout frontrunner Fuchsia Bandana, with eventual third placed Delicacy snaring the lead off a stellar trial before getting swamped late.
The late runs came from Sigley’s duo and Black Heart Bart, ridden by Glenn Smith, had the better finishing burst in the closing stages in what his hoop said was his best win to date.
“I think so, there’s two Group 1 winners in there so it is probably the best field he’s met,” Smith told Perth Racing post-win.
“I thought his Bunbury Stakes win was good with 61 and beat them by five lengths, but that was in lesser company.”
Sigley’s winning gelding now looks Perth’s best hope of keeping the interstate rivals at bay when he returns to Ascot on November 21 stepping up in class for the $1 million Group 1 James Boags Railway Stakes (1600m).
After the Lee Steere Stakes success, which too his record to 10 wins from 23 starts for over $850,000 in prize money, Black Heart Bart leads the all-in Railway Stakes odds at bookmakers around the country.
The Lee Steere Stakes has produced the past two Railway Stakes winners with both Luckygray (2013) and Elite Belle (2014) having run fourth as the beaten favourites in the lead-up before saluting in the Group 1 a fortnight later at 20/1 and 5/1 odds respectively.
The last Railway Stakes favourite to salute for the punters in Perth’s premier mile showdown was Luckygray for his first as the $3 top fancy back in 2011.
Currently Black Heart Bart sits at just under $4 in the all-in Railway Stakes betting markets that features three other single figure hopes.
The next best fancied are two mares looking to go back-to-back after the success of Elite Belle 12 months ago with the Adam Durrant-trained Perth Cup champ back on New Year’s Day Real Love who was last seen winning the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) and Saturday’s Lee Steere Stakes third placed Delicacy.
Delicacy is prepared by last year’s Railway Stakes winning trainer Williams and won six on the trot including the Adelaide Group 1 double last campaign before her returning run in the Lee Steere.
The best fancied of the possible visitors in the Railway Stakes this year are Murray Baker’s in-form Kiwi Turn Me Loose who led all the way over the weekend to take out the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, the John O’Shea-trained import Bow Creek and He Or She for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
After the Railway, plans are to step Black Heart Bart up in distance again for a shot at the prestigious $1 million Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 5.
Smith is confident the galloper can handle the extra metres in both the Railway and the Kingston Town and is looking forward to attempting his first winning ride in both Perth Summer Racing Carnival features.
“Today’s race he relaxed beautifully, he bunged the start a bit,” he said on Saturday.
“He’s probably looking for the mile the way he ran today.
“History says anything more than about 56 it’s hard to win, but Luckygray has done it, and with the quality that is coming over [from the eastern states] they may add a few more points to those horses.
“The weight’s not an issue, he carried 61 (kg) in the Bunbury Stakes.”
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