Checkpoint s big chance
Checkpoint's big chance

Jockey Brad Parnham is convinced Checkpoint will win today's $125,000 Belmont Sprint (1400m) if he gets the better of classy mare Elite Belle.

Knocking on the door of a feature win after three consecutive placings, Checkpoint looks one of the hardest to beat in the Group 3 feature.

Checkpoint and Elite Belle were involved in a thrilling finish to the Roma Cup (1200m) a fortnight ago. A long neck separated the first five across the line.

Elite Belle, who was held up until the 100m, stormed home to finish a head second to quality mare Magnifisio. Checkpoint hit the lead in the straight and was gunned down late. He ran third, beaten a short neck.

Parnham rates Elite Belle, the TAB's $2.45 favourite, as the one Checkpoint has to beat.

"Obviously Elite Belle is the one we have to worry about beating," Parnham said.

"But I think he (Checkpoint) should go really good.

"I think he's better over 1400 than 1200 now and he's a lot fitter. He's ready to run a big race."

Checkpoint holds second favouritism for the Belmont Sprint at $3.60.

Restricted to 15 starts because of multiple injuries, the five-year-old has impressed since stepping up to top company.

He ran a close third to Barakey in the Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) and was second to Conservatorium in the Lee-Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot last spring.

"He's been close in a few big races and deserves to win one," Parnham said.

"He's had a few hiccups, but I can't fault him."

Trained by Parnham's father Neville, Checkpoint drops 4.5kg to the 54kg minimum.

Barrier one appears to be the biggest hurdle for Elite Belle, who is also on the minimum after carrying 56.5kg in the Roma Cup.

"If she got out a bit earlier she would have won (the Roma Cup)," breeder-owner Bob Peters said.

"But there is the potential for the same thing to happen, drawn on the inside."

Peters also has Ranger in the Belmont Sprint after his eye-catching fifth in the Roma Cup.

"That's about what he does every time," Peters said of the Roma Cup run.

"He's not very lucky. With Luckygray coming out, he's gone up 4kg."

Ranger is a $10 chance. He will start from gate six and jockey Peter Hall retains the ride.

Kalahaar, beaten less than a length when sixth in the Roma Cup, is on the third line of betting at $4.80.

Peters has a strong team set for today's Belmont meeting, with Arcadia Rose, Success Story, Timebomb, Celebrity Miss, Dark Delight and Pure Glamour also engaged.

·Jockey manager Dale Verhagen has taken over booking rides for apprentice Chris Parnham.

The West Australian

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