The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Perth hoop Craig Staples remains confident his mount in the 2017 Kingston Town Classic field on Saturday Great Shot can be competitive at weight-for-age on the back of an upset Railway Stakes success.
Staples rode the always honest Rhys Radford-trained Magnus gelding to a shock victory a fortnight back at the Ascot track as a $26 outsider in the Group 1 $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m).
Improving on a host of lead-up placings, the five-year-old relished coming back from 59kg in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) when runner-up to just 53.5kg under the handicap conditions of the Railway Stakes.
The light weight allowed Great Shot to get the better of the gun five-time Group 1 winning favourite Black Heart Bart (59kg) who was ultra-brave running a devastatingly close second.
This weekend the duo are engaged in a rematch in the Group 1 $1 million Magic Millions Kingston Town Classic (1800m), but returning to WFA it is Black Heart Bart tipped to come away victorious.
Formerly prepared by Vaughn Sigley in W.A., seven-year-old Black Heart Bart chases elite level win number six and dominates the Kingston Town Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3 after drawing barrier one.
Great Shot meanwhile drew right out in gate 12 and is an $18 outsider in Kingston Town Classic betting to do the Group 1 Perth Summer Racing Carnival double last completed by Sniper’s Bullet (2009).
Despite the obvious challenges presented by the weight and gate, Staples believes Great Shot isn’t out of the race just yet and is a class horse when presenting as fit and sound as he is this weekend.
“It will be interesting to see how he goes at weight-for-age against Black Heart Bart and the three-year-olds,” Staples told Racing and Wagering Western Australia.
“But I understand this horse very well and know what he is capable of and I’m confident he will put in and be very competitive.
“He is in good shape, his work since the Railway Stakes has been good and what we would have expected.
“When he is fit and sound he is more than capable of beating any horse in any race in any conditions.
“He can carry weight well and if he gets a good run where he can bowl along then the rest will have to bring it to him.”
Black Heart Bart’s trainer Darren Weir won last year’s Kingston Town Classic in an upset with Stratum Star ($12 in 2016) who also jumped from gate one.
Barrier 12 meanwhile provided the previous season’s winner, the Grant Williams-trained filly Perfect Reflection (2015).
Williams returns this summer with another gun three-year-old filly, his last start WA Guineas winner Perfect Jewel getting plenty of support from the punters to beat the older gallopers.
She jumps from gate nine carrying 50kg in the form of William Pike and has been backed in from $7 to $6 in the latest markets.
Check out the full Kingston Town Classic 2017 odds online now through Ladbrokes.com.au.
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