Classy five-year-old Elite Belle earned an Ascot carnival campaign on the strength of a fighting win for owners Bob and Sandra Peters in today's $125,000 weight-for-age Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at Belmont Park.
The Peters family, who also race Hyperion runner-up Ranger, have decided Elite Belle will be spelled and aimed at races headed by the $1m Railway Stakes (1600m) in November.
Elite Belle ($1.50 favourite), trained by Grant Williams, settled in third position for jockey William Pike in the Hyperion. She edged clear in the straight and then withstood a late challenge by Ranger ($5), who went within a head of victory.
Grand Nirvana ($21) finished a close third after racing close to the lead.
Bob Peters said Elite Belle, who won the Belmont Sprint(1400m) on May 31, deserved a rest. She will have only brief break before preparing for the carnival which begins in November.
"Her Ascot carnival mission will be the Railway Stakes," the owner said. "She could be switched to a series of mares' races at the carnival.
"This has been a top campaign by a mare whose career looked in jeopardy when she injured a tendon in the 2012 WATC Derby. She needed more a year off racing to recover."
Elite Belle has won at seven of 20 starts and earned stakes totalling $472,000.
Peters said the Adam Durrant-trained Ranger would next contest the $125,000 weight-for-age Strickland Stakes (2000m) at Belmont on June 28.
Promising apprentice Lucy Warwick, 16, scored her first city winning double today and showed signs of an outstanding future.
Warwick won the Perth Racing Membership Handicap (1200m) on Celebrity Miss, who is also trained by Williams for the Peters family.
The apprentice later scored on Lucciola, trained by her father Justin Warwick, in the Westspeed Stayers' Bonus Handicap (2000m).
Celebrity Miss ($2.70 favourite) came from sixth near the 350m post to beat Futurism ($8) by 1 3/4 lengths.
Lucciola ($5 favourite) won by 1 1/2 lengths after being in fifth postion at the home turn.
"We're very proud of Lucy," Justin Warwick said. "She first rode a pony as a toddler. City opportunities are being offered to Lucy, after her learning experience on country tracks."
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