The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The final Perth Cup lead-up runs at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday with the Fred Kersley-trained Respondent to carry top weight in the ATA Stakes 2016 field.
Just nine stayers make-up final acceptances for this season’s $100,000 Listed A.T.A. Stakes (2200m) on the weekend.
The handicap clash is a key preparatory race for the iconic $500,000 Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) back at the track on December 31 for W.A.’s New Year’s Eve racing action.
Drawn the outside barrier (9) and giving the weight away to his eight rivals with 59kg, Kersley’s Haradasun six-year-old Respondent chases his second win from three starts.
He won the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2100m) at Ascot two back in late November carrying 56.5kg before his ninth to Perfect Reflection on December 17 in the Group 2 Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m).
On the short turnaround Respondent is looking to improve on his run last weekend against an easier field of rivals as Paul Harvey replaces Chris Parnham in the saddle for the ATA Stakes.
Respondent currently pays $13 in the all-in Perth Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au and is one of the shortest-priced in futures betting for the mile and a half classic of the ATA Stakes runners this summer.
He was fourth in last year’s ATA Stakes before a 12th to Delicacy in the Perth Cup.
At a slightly firmer Perth Cup quote of $11 is Star Exhibit for Durrant & Miller, the in-form Statue Of Liberty five-year-old coming off a second to Kia Ora Koutou in the Listed JRA Trophy (2200m) from December 10.
That was the gelding’s second time as runner-up from as many runs at the 2200m, a distance he is over again on Saturday.
In the JRA Trophy Star Exhibit carried 56kg with Glenn Smith in the saddle on the back of a 1660m win at the track from late November.
Smith retains the ride on Saturday as the horse goes up only a half-kilo in weight for the ATA Stakes, a race he looks hard to beat in on way to the Perth Cup.
The stable has also accepted for Dark Alert this weekend, Peter Hall to ride the son of Testa Rossa from gate seven on 56kg.
He drops a kilo from 57kg, which he carried to fifth in the JRA Trophy after his Tattersall’s Cup second.
Dark Alert, a $13 Perth Cup hope, has winning form up to 2400m and is also a legitimate top three hope on the weekend.
At the same price in Perth Cup betting, Dark Musket drops from 59kg for his seventh in the Ted Van Heemst last time out to Saturday’s 55kg minimum.
The run before from Graeme Ballantyne’s Musket five-year-old was an eye-catching third in the JRA Trophy and he also finished third to Star Exhibit prior to that over a mile.
He has two wins and a third from three runs over the ATA Stakes distance and with the extra metres and less weight is also a danger in the black-type on Saturday.
See below for the full ATA Stakes 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights with betting to open shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
2016 ATA Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Ascot Race 7 – 24/12/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||22404×3019||RESPONDENT||Fred Kersley||Paul Harvey||9||59kg||93|
|2||x8172x8066||DUBAI ESCAPADE||Justin Warwick||Ms Lucy Warwick||1||58.5kg||92|
|3||241×602190||COUGAR EXPRESS||Lindsey Smith||Aaron Mitchell (a)||3||58kg||91|
|4||5025×01604||KIROV BOY||Arthur Mortimer||Danny Miller||2||56.5kg||88|
|5||5112×42412||STAR EXHIBIT||G Durrant & J Miller||Glenn Smith||8||56.5kg||88|
|6||51111×5325||DARK ALERT||G Durrant & J Miller||Peter Hall||7||56kg||87|
|7||83×2497229||BEDAMIJO||Tara Itzstein||Shaun O’Donnell||6||55kg||85|
|8||72164×8337||DARK MUSKET||Graeme Ballantyne||Jarrad Noske||4||55kg||81|
|9||x6253x8349||PROPERANTES||Colin Webster||Troy Turner||5||55kg||80|
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