Cups king Peter Hall gets a chance to extend his dominance of the Pilbara's premier staying race when he replaces WA's premier jockey William Pike on Gladstone in Saturday's $100,000 Broome Cup (2200m).
Gladstone booked his ticket for a trip north with his win over 2000m at Belmont Park last Saturday week.
Pike, fresh from his sixth metropolitan premiership, has started the new season in style, following his double to launch the 2014-15 campaign last weekend with a treble on Saturday aboard Stagnite, Kheleva and Belmont Newmarket winner Smoko.
Pike made a rare appearance in the North West last Monday, riding Lady Trader to seventh in the $40,000 Port Hedland Cup (2200m).
He was offered the opportunity to continue his strong association with Gladstone, but turned down the offer because of a strong book of rides at Belmont.
Surprisingly, Hall's only ride on Gladstone at his 20 starts was at his debut when he ran second in a 1200m maiden at Pinjarra on July 12, 2012.
"I had the choice between Gladstone and Reale Fury, but I felt the former was the class ride," Hall said.
"It was an excellent win by him last start and provided he has settled well in Broome he should be hard to beat."
Hall won his first Broome Cup on Davenport Tryst in 2000 and followed that success with wins aboard Tango Man (2002), Key To Cash (2003), Great Destiny (2008) and Viscount Cameron (2011).
Gladstone was last week transferred from the premier stables of Adam Durrant to local trainer Robert Gulberti, who won the Port Hedland Cup with former Durrant-trained galloper Galaxon.
Leading Perth rider Peter Knuckey will replace Robert Markou on Galaxon in the Broome Cup.
Gulberti holds a powerful hand in the cup, also saddling Reale Fury, who Markou rode to win last Friday week's Kimberley Cup (2020m).
"He (Gladstone) arrived here on Friday night and has settled in well so far," Gulberti said. "He will probably gallop on the track on Thursday and spend the rest of the week on the beach.
"He looks a tough type who should cope with his trip and change in environment."
Owner Kim Loxton, who won the 2007 Broome Cup with Red Hannigan, paid $18,000 for Gladstone as a yearling.
Meanwhile, co-trainers Ross and Clint Price are undecided about Smoko tackling Barakey at level weights under the weight-for-age conditions of Saturday week's Goodwood Sprint (1300m) at Belmont.
The trainers will sit down with owners Frank and Josie Fiore to discuss future plans with Smoko, after his blazing three-length demolition on Saturday.
The strapping son of Snitzel bounded to the front and never gave his rivals a chance of running him down.