Trainer Adam Durrant and jockey Peter Knuckey look set to continue their charge up their respective WA premiership tables at today's opening of a new Belmont Park season.
A treble to both, which included a combined double with Chester Road and Mabel Grace, ended last Saturday's 2011-12 Ascot season on a high, and has them in second position behind Jim Taylor and William Pike on the city trainers' and jockeys' premierships.
Durrant, with 28 wins, is three adrift of Taylor, and Knuckey (43 wins) is within range of Pike (67), who is riding in Hong Kong. They can repeat last week's efforts today, combining with Player's $2.30 favourite Chester Road in the opening race and $5 second favourite Just Wicked in the third.
"Chester Road is the best of the lot but Hibernian (same race) is going well and he goes really well at Belmont," Durrant said.
"You'd be brave to say the others aren't good chances but it doesn't always work out that way.
"All are very good and are a chance to run in the first three."
Hibernian is the $4 second favourite behind Chester Road, with $2.80 favourite Mr Moet (race four), Beach Express ($7, race five), Undercover Lizzy ($9, race seven) and $5.50 second favourite Ziprossa (race eight) giving the Karnup horseman a strong hand.
Ziprossa is a half-brother to dual Caulfield Cup and Sydney Cup placegetter Grey Song
Previously prepared by Sydney's top trainer Chris Waller, Ziprossa showed his best form on good and dead tracks but has been placed on waterlogged ground in NSW.
Ziprossa failed to win in his first 11 starts for Waller, finally ending the drought by stringing victories together over 1550m and 1600m at Canterbury and Warwick Farm last November and December.
The Testa Rossa four-year-old impressed in blinkers, winning a 950m trial for race jockey Clint Harvey in 57.92sec. at Lark Hill on April 10.
"He is really going to be a race-day horse and will get over 2000m," Durrant said.
Taylor has the runners to hold off Durrant, saddling Cristiano ($5, race four), Full Clip ($6, race five), race six trio Cohort ($17), The Tenby Friar ($3.40) and Ten Aces ($6.50), Resetgold ($10) and Mavromata ($13) in race seven and New Time ($12, race eight).Knuckey also is booked to ride Saturday Skies (race two), Come Party (four), Rocking The Blues (five), Irma La Dane (seven) and Discoverers in the final race.
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