Taylor has Latoria spot on for Newmarket
Taylor has Latoria spot on for Newmarket

Trainer Jim Taylor says Latoria will be at peak fitness and is perfectly placed to run a strong 1200m in today's $80,000 Belmont Newmarket (1200m).

Taylor has the classy five-year-old mare primed for a big performance in the Listed sprint after two trials and a first-up second to Megem's Boy in the Beaufine Stakes (1000m) a fortnight ago.

Latoria has been at her best over 1000m and 1100m in her 15-start career, with just one of her seven wins recorded over 1200m.

But Taylor is confident Latoria, drawn ideally in barrier five, will prove hard to beat in the Newmarket.

The Bullsbrook horseman is also convinced Latoria will hold off Werd, who jumps from gate nine, for the lead.

"She's pretty well in herself," Taylor said. "I think she's ready to run 1200 now, whereas in the past she was better over 1000 and 1100.

"She's very fit with two trials and a race under her belt and if she's ever going to run a race over 1200 it will be in this.

"I was really happy with her Beaufine run. We took a sit when they said Werd was going to lead but I think he might have lost some of his early zip.

"I'm pretty sure we'll lead him easy. I don't think he can cross her."

Latoria, beaten only ¾ of a length in the Beaufine, was the $3.70 favourite for the Newmarket with Player.

Taylor is hoping to break his Newmarket hoodoo of runner-up placings after settling for second with Cool Business (2002), Golden Delicious (2003), Vain Raider (2009) and Shock Value (2010 and 2011).

Werd is the second elect at $4. He was beaten for speed in the Beaufine and was held up for clear running in the straight when an unlucky fifth.

Megem's Boy is rated an $8.50 chance in his bid for another upset feature victory. The seven-year-old has to overcome a poor record of just one placing from 11 starts over the Newmarket distance.

"He did run a close second behind Zester in a restricted race (over 1200m)," trainer Stan Bates told Racing Radio yesterday.

"He was a surprise winner the other day to me.

"He probably found the right race on the right day but I do feel like he's going better than he ever has.

"He's doing particularly well at the moment and if you thought he was a 1200m horse you'd be pretty happy going into it."

Cavallo Pazzo and Our Ol' Fella are the only other Newmarket contenders under double figures at $6 and $7 respectively.

Trainer Jason Miller is confident progressive stayer Fair Hunter can score a fourth consecutive win in today's Westspeed Stayers' Handicap (2200m).

Fair Hunter, who bolted in by 2½ lengths over Hibernian three weeks ago, is likely to be aimed at next year's Bunbury and Pinjarra cups.

"Three weeks between runs won't hurt him," Miller said. "He goes well fresh."

The West Australian

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