Trainer Grant Williams will take a three-pronged attack into Sunday’s AHA Cup (2019m) at Bunbury and is adamant little separates his combatants.
Williams’ hopes rest with the returning Moonlight Bay, veteran gelding Lord’s Ransom and former champion three-year-old Dreamaway.
Moonlight Bay, ideally drawn in barrier five for jockey William Pike, is coming off a successful Ascot summer carnival campaign.
The Catbird mare won the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2100m) and was placed in the Ascot Gold Cup (1800m), Towton Cup (2200m) and ATA Hcp (2200m).
She rounded out her preparations with two dominant 1400m trial wins, including a nine-length victory over Summah’s Touch on Monday.
“She is exactly where I want her to be and if she can settle and relax I think she is in with undeniable claims, ” Williams said.
He said there were also positive signs for Dreamaway after her narrow third behind Trustee Brown and Miss Tipsy Topsy in the Detonator Stakes (1800m).
The More Than Ready daughter has been dogged by niggling injuries since her stunning three-year-old season which included the WA Oaks (2400m)-WATC Derby (2400m) double.
“I thought it was a top run off a five-week break and without the benefit of a trial, ” Williams said.
“She attacked the line hard and was only a short-head from the winner.
“All the signs are looking good and I would love for her to come back to her top after all the issues she has had.”
Williams refuses to discount Lord’s Ransom and believes the Jeune gelding will strip fitter after his first-run back in the Detonator Stakes.
The rising 10-year-old, who will lump the topweight of 59.5kg for jockey Daniel Ganderton, finished sixth and less than two lengths behind the winner.
“The Detonator was more an afterthought and he went in with little preparation, ” Williams said.
“I am genuinely happy with where he is at and I firmly believe very little separates all three runners.“My head has a slight leaning towards Moonlight Bay but my heart would love to see Dreamaway get up.”
AHA CUP TIPSJulio Santarelli, RWWA
Moonlight Bay tuned up for her return with two dominant trial wins and does race well fresh.Paul Rossiter, Bunbury Turf Club
Back at home on a track she loves – look for Rosie Rocket to defend her AHA crown.Riley Stuart, South Western Times
I’m backing Barnsley Lad to get the job done this Sunday. Has impressive form in town and is jumping from gate four.Fiona Hinds, www.swtimes.com.au
Six-year-old well placed for this with champion hoop Kyra Yuill on board. If he can keep out of trouble, should go well.Paul Luzi, Lighthouse Realty
This horse has plenty of class. Had a great run in the Perth Cup where didn’t have a lot of luck and was terrific last start.Ashley Dillon, Spirit 621 Southwest
Extremely hard to ignore after winning its previous two starts and jumping from barrier four. Get on it!Flighty Filly, Greener Pastures
Miss Tipsy Topsy
Don’t let the name put you off this in-form mare who looks trained to the minute to break through for a glitzy win.Brody Russell, Bunbury Turf Club
Restricted class galloper who is on the way up. Faces his toughest assignment yet but looks capable of bigger things.Pippa McIntosh
It’s a tough field to pick, though Stephen Rowe’s Barnsley Lad is in with a real chance.David Shortte, TAB Player
Talented mare from the Justin Warwick stable resuming after a break. Proven against quality opposition. Go each way.