Perth’s premier hoop William Pike has opted to jump off the top weight and race favourite Delicacy in Saturday’s Perth Cup 2016 field in favour of the ride on fellow Bob & Sandra Peters-owned mare Neverland.
A capacity 16 starters plus four emergencies are engaged for the $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) this summer including the Grant Williams-trained dual Group 1 winner Delicacy.
The four-year-old daughter of Al Maher won the SA Oaks – Derby double back in May as a three-year-old and also controlled proceedings at home last start to take out the Group 2 CB Cox Stakes (2100m).
Likely favourite in Perth Cup betting through Ladbrokes.com.au this weekend, Delicacy only carried 56kg in the CB Cox Stakes and goes up to 59kg this weekend with Peter Hall booked for the ride after Pike opted to partner Neverland following a long discussion with owner-breeder Bob Peters.
“I had a good talk with him (Pike) and we thought the weight difference was too much,” Peters told Seven West Media.
“It will have to be a pretty special effort for Delicacy to win with that weight over that distance.
“At the weights, Neverland is a better chance. I don’t think there’s a lot between them.”
Hall rode $1.82 million earner Delicacy in her Group 1 Morphettville double in Adelaide as well as her second to stablemate Perfect Reflection two back in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Pike agrees this Saturday with history against Delicacy weight-wise in the Perth Cup, the fellow Williams-trained Neverland is a better winning hope getting in on the 54kg minimum.
The four-year-old Big Brown mare chases her first win since the Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes (1400m) in November.
She was fourth with Douglas Whyte aboard in the Kingston Town on December 5 before her second last Wednesday in the Listed A.T.A. Stakes (2200m) from barrier 13 of 16 at Ascot with Pike in the saddle.
“She didn’t have a gut-buster last start because she didn’t get out,” Peters said of Neverland.
“I wouldn’t think the 2400 (metres) will be a problem.
“It all depends on how the race is run.”
Neverland gets the chance to turn the tables on her last start conqueror in the Perth Cup with ATA Stakes winner Bedamijo also accepted for the mile and a half summer feature.
Prepared at Ravenswood by Miss Tara Izstein, the eight-year-old daughter of Helenus has her 51st career start in the Perth Cup with regular rider Shaun O’Donnell continuing his association on the back of the solid two and a quarter length win last week.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the full Perth Cup 2016 field and barrier draw, then head to our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au for all the best summer odds and promos including up to $500 in bonuses when you deposit and quote the code BETBONUS!