The Adam Durrant trained Summah’s Touch rounded off a stellar winter preparation at Belmont today with a convincing victory in the $80,000 listed Belmont Classic 2200m.
Over the last month, the battle for 3yo staying honours had produced two notable standouts, and in keeping with the age old gender debate – one would be a filly, and the other – a gelding.
The Blackfriars filly Summah’s Touch had taken all before it this winter carnival, with convincing wins in both the Belmont Guineas 1600m and the Belmont Oaks 2000m features. But from within these notable victories was a legitimate challenger looming. The Cape North gelding Northpace had appeared from the 3yo crop following an unlucky third behind Summah’s Touch in the Guineas, with a merciless slaying of male rivals in the Dayana Plate 2000m a fortnight ago.
The scene was set for a “classic” showdown between Summah’s Touch ($3.00) and Northpace ($2.25 fav), as punters rallied behind both prospects.
In a race run to suit, Testamonial Mak ($101.00) and Lady Trader ($51.00) poured on the pace from barrier rise, stretching the field as the fancied pair sat in the back half with cover – respective hoops Ben Paterson (Summah’s Touch) and Steven Parnham (Northpace) at ease with the lightning speed set up front.
Passing the 400m mark, Summah’s Touch and Northpace made their moves – the pair peeling wide on the turn, as the handy runners Trade Down ($41.00) and Fashion Princess ($21.00) shot past the tiring leaders. Momentarily blocked for a run, Summah’s Touch eventually secured a dream passage – prying between horses and putting paid to the field as it stormed down the middle of the track for a memorable 1 ½ victory.
Northpace fought on bravely after copping a check at the top of the turn, before recovering to hit the line together with Fashion Princess – the gelding conceding yet another third place behind the talented filly.
The trifecta of feature wins for Summah’s Touch also hailed a riding treble for Paterson, who had earlier success aboard Danablue and Master Robson.
With seven wins from seventeen career starts, Durrant looks likely to spell Summah’s Touch to prepare for a highly possible Ascot “Summah” carnival.