The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The in-form Perfect Jewel is narrow favourite in a wide-open Strickland Stakes 2020 betting market in WA this weekend with the class Adam Durrant-trained mare chasing a hat-trick of winter feature race wins at the Belmont track.
The 2017 WA Guineas winner looks back to her best form this prep with the now five-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice having won the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) two back at $31.
She was forgotten by the punters again next-up when, a fortnight later, she took her Belmont track record up to three-from-three winning the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at double-figures.
Perfect Jewel won’t be found at that price again as she looks to retain her undefeated status at the track in Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 Strickland Stakes (2000m).
The weight-for-age feature attracted a final field of just nine hopefuls this season with Perfect Jewel to be ridden from a wide barrier eight draw by Patrick Carbery.
Her Karnup-based trainer Durrant chases his third Strickland Stakes victory following his back-to-back wins with Mr Moet (2012) and Kincaple (2013).
Galaxy Star (2019) won as the odds-on favourite for the punters last year following her Belmont Sprint victory and a Hyperion Stakes second.
The season prior, Material Man (2018) completed the Belmont Sprint – Hyperion – Strickland Stakes treble Perfect Jewel chases this year.
Also looking to go back-to-back for the mares, the Grant & Alana Williams-trained High Chaparral six-year-old Mississippi Delta is drawn barrier four with Perth’s leading jockey William Pike retaining the ride.
The mare is third-up on the weekend following her seventh in the Belmont Sprint and improving third in the Hyperion Stakes with Saturday’s step-up in distance to suit the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) winner.
Mississippi Delta has an imposing record over the 2000m and presents fit on the weekend for last year’s winning trainer / jockey combination.
Darren McAuliffe meanwhile saddles-up The Velvet King from barrier seven, the Universal Ruler four-year-old having finished out of the money just once in nine starts at Belmont Racecourse (9:4-3-1).
He comes off a trio of devastatingly close second placings this campaign having been beaten by the barest of margins in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) fresh before his narrow losses to Perfect Jewel in the Belmont Sprint and Hyperion Stakes.
Yet to win over a mile, the 2000m could be a stretch on Saturday, but the bookies are taking no chances and keeping the consistent The Velvet King safe in Strickland Stakes betting.
Rounding out the single-figure hopefuls in the markets at $8.50 is Group 1 winner Gatting out to atone for his disappointing 10th in the Hyperion Stakes when unsuccessfully defending his title from 2019.
Stablemate to The Velvet King, the Hard Spun six-year-old was runner-up to Galaxy Star in last year’s race and franked the form that September winning Flemington’s Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in a boilover at 100/1.
He chases his first win since, but will need to be at his best over the distance against this field.
2020 Strickland Stakes Field & Barriers
|THE VELVET KING
|NOIR DE RUE
|Grant & Alana Williams
|Ms Jade McNaught
*Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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