The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Darren McAuliffe’s progressive four-year-old The Velvet King is the narrow favourite in an open Belmont Sprint 2020 betting race in W.A. this weekend.
Continuing the action of the Perth Winter Racing Carnival, this Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 Belmont Sprint (1400m) field has drawn an ace line-up of 15 weight-for-age hopefuls.
Lark Hill horseman McAuliffe chases his second Belmont Sprint victory in having won the 2009 edition with The Velvet King’s sire, Universal Ruler.
Bred then for success, The Velvet King is drawn ideally in barrier five with Mitchell Pateman continuing his association with the galloper who comes off a devastatingly first-up second behind Vega Magic in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) a fortnight back.
The Roma Cup has been the premier form race into the Belmont Sprint in recent times and the other best out of the race backing-up in Saturday’s event is the third-placed Durendal.
Drawn out in barrier 13 in the Belmont Sprint, veteran eight-year-old Durendal is a $26 roughie to improve on his lead-up third and post his first victory since November of 2018.
Higher up the markets following The Velvet King meanwhile are the likes of Angelic Ruler ($4.80) and Flirtini ($5.50) drawn in barriers three and 10 respectively.
Daniel & Ben Pearce saddle-up another Universal Ruler progeny in four-year-old mare Angelic Ruler who has an excellent record at the distance (8:3-3-2) and who was Group 1 performed in Melbourne over the spring.
She is fourth-up on the weekend having been in strong form back home over the autumn – winter season including a Black-Type 1400m win at Ascot two back as the odds-on favourite.
Angelic Ruler was under a length away fifth in the Roma Cup when dropping back to 1200m and should relish getting back up to her preferred distance this weekend with Chris Parnham coming aboard for the ride.
Flirtini is also a Roma Cup graduate having ran fourth after two earlier Ascot placings including her second in the Group 3 Northam Stakes (1100m) at the start of the month.
She is yet to win over further than 1200m so the Belmont Sprint distance will be the test for the Simon Miller-trained Artie Schiller mare this weekend.
Premier Perth trainers Grant & Alana Williams won the Belmont Sprint last year with Galaxy Star and return with another genuine hope this season with the last of the single-figure fancies, Mississippi Delta ($9.50).
Co-trainer Grant Williams chases his fourth win in the event having also prepared back-to-back winners with Elite Belle and Shining Knight in 2014-15.
The ‘Wizard of the West’ William Pike partners returning daughter of High Chaparral Mississippi Delta in the Belmont Sprint field on Saturday, the six-year-old mare racing for the first time since her Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) win in January.
She goes up notably in weight from 53kg to 57kg and will be better over further later this prep, but has performed solidly in a couple of recent trials and has a 50% winning strike-rate first-up (4:2-0-0).
2020 Belmont Sprint Field & Barriers
|Form (Last 10)
|Ms Lucy Warwick
|Ms Jerry Noske
|THE VELVET KING
|Grant & Alana Williams
|Daniel & Ben Pearce
|Simon A Miller
|Ms Jade McNaught (a)
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