A return to Albany horseman Steve Wolfe and a seven day back-up from a Melbourne run at Sandown could be the key to Railway Stakes 2015 success this Saturday in Perth for the always honest Mr Utopia.
After a stint in Victoria with Robert Smerdon, the Elusive Quality six-year-old is back with Wolfe and ready to race in WA for the first time since his seventh in last November’s Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m).
He returns to Ascot for his 11th start at Perth’s premier track on the weekend in the $1 million Group 1 James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) over the mile.
Mr Utopia has had three previous 1600m runs for a solid two wins and a second at the distance he goes up to off his mid-field sixth last Saturday in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m).
Mark Zahra had the ride that day on 55.5kg with the horse drawn well in gate seven, into six with Fuchsia Bandana (1) set to be officially withdrawn from the line-up, on Saturday with Shaun McGruddy taking over in the saddle on the 53kg minimum.
Shooting for his first win since late May, Mr Utopia missed the kick in the Sandown Stakes and Wolfe is hoping for a better jump in the Railway Stakes when he runs on the seven day turnaround for the first time of his 29 start career.
“I don’t think that is a real concern, it’s not perfect and it would have been nice to have two weeks,” he told Perth Racing.
“He’s used to travelling, he’s travelled from Albany all his life.”
From the gate Wolfe is tipping Mr Utopia to settle midfield off the speed before a strong finish replicating his form in WA last Perth Summer Racing Carnival when he finished just behind Balmont Girl in a Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) fourth.
“If he could be running seventh or eighth we would be very happy,” he said.
“The best part of him is that he has good closing speed.
“His form over there in the winter was excellent and his form here last year was pretty good, he almost beat Balmont Girl.
“So he’s not out of the race, he’s probably in the top half I think.”
In the latest Railway Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the race this Saturday, Mr Utopia is paying $26 for the win.
Two of the past three Railway Stakes winners jumped at double-figures with Mr Moet (2012) and Luckygray (2013) both saluting at 20/1 before the win by Grant Williams’s mare Elite Belle (5/1) 12 months ago.
Williams has two runners in the field this year shooting for back-to-back wins with the race favourite Delicacy ($4.20) out wide in 15 with William Pike opting to stick on the dual Group 1 winner and Battle Hero ($26) to be ridden by Chris Parnham from gate six.
Back your favourites in the Railway Stakes on Saturday at Best Tote or SP + 20% and win more only at Ladbrokes.com.au!