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Betting markets on Saturday’s Black-Type feature at Ascot Racecourse in WA are firmly led by Valour Road with Simon Miller’s four-year-old chasing more stakes success in the Miss Andretti Stakes 2020.
Valour Road is one of just seven final acceptors for this summer’s Listed $100,000 Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m), the Perth Summer Racing Carnival feature used as a stepping stone to the Listed Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) in February.
Miller has prepared three recent Miss Andretti Stakes winners with Power Princess (2012), Hussy By Choice (2014) and Caipirinha (2018).
This season he looks to add to his imposing record in the handicap clash saddling-up the $2 favourite in Miss Andretti Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, dual Group 2 winner Valour Road.
The four-year-old son of Frost Giant is best known for his wins in the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) at the Ascot track in 2018 and the Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) that he won in Adelaide last May.
The smart sprinter has also been tested in Group 1 company three times to date with his best result producing a fifth to Voodoo Lad in the 2018 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
A disappointing 12th to Hey Doc in last November’s Winterbottom, Valour Road improved on December 7 when narrowly beaten crossing second to The Celt in the Group 3 AJ Scahill Stakes (1400m).
Carrying 59kg in the AJ Scahill Stakes, Valour Road should appreciate dropping back to 58kg from a nice barrier three draw with Perth’s premier hoop William Pike coming aboard.
Pike has ridden the galloper just once before for a first-up win in last June’s Listed HG Bolton Stakes (1200m) at Belmont and so will be looking for a perfect two-from-two record on Saturday’s favourite.
The horse that beat Valour Road home in the AJ Scahill Stakes, the Anne King-trained The Celt is also is also in the mix this weekend.
The Planet Five six-year-old carries the 59kg topweight from the outside barrier (7) and is a $9.50 chance to return to winning form following a last start ninth in Ascot’s Listed Summer Scorcher (1000m) on January 4.
At shorter Miss Andretti Stakes odds sitting second only to the favourite Valour Road are Belter and Don’t Fuss at an equal $5.50.
Belter is drawn the rails for jockey Peter Knuckey, the Sean Casey-trained Denman grey coming off a distant second when just under four lengths beaten in the Summer Scorcher first-up.
The gelding presents fitter second-up and gets the run of the race from the barrier looking to go one better than his second to Misty Metal in last year’s Miss Andretti Stakes results.
Don’t Fuss is also second-up, the Scandal Keeper six-year-old having run a close fourth to Undisclosed on December 21 over 1000m at the track carrying 57kg fresh.
This is a rise in grade for the bay gelding, but Don’t Fuss gets the benefit of a weight drop back to Saturday’s 54kg minimum with the 2018 Miss Andretti Stakes winning hoop Joseph Azzopardi (on Caipirinha) coming aboard.
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