Adam Durrant put the icing on the cake when his two in-form stayers Mr Moet and Chester Road continued in devastating form by fighting out the finish of the $125,000 Group III Strickland Stakes (2000m).
In the end it was Mr Moet (Peter Hall) who ran down his more fancied stablemate and pacemaker Chester Road (Peter Knuckey) while Rosie Rocket (Shaun Meeres) plugged on for third after having the run of the race.
Hall is a fine rider and he proved it in this race. With only one behind him on the corner Hall stayed where he was on Mr Moet as the others peeled off to tackle Chester Road.
As Chester Road moved away from the fence under pressure Hall pushed up and there are few stronger riders than Hall when the whips are cracking.
The win reversed the order of the stable mates on June 2 when Chester Road scored by a neck over Mr Moet.
However since that race Mr Moet has gone on to score twice in June over the stayers distance and this win completed a hat trick something that has eluded Chester Road who has score three career back-to-back wins but has also been twice runner-up when going for three wins in a row.
Durrant is now in a very good position and these two versatile gallopers will probably compete in the Railway Stakes (1600m) and also staying races over summer with the Perth Cup the culmination race of the campaign.
During the week Rosie Rocket (third) and Dreamaway appeared all the rage with punters but the hype didn’t match the pair’s performances.
Both have been engaged in recent sprint races and although Rosie Rocket raced over a mile at her last start she still had to step up another 400m in this race.
Jockey Shaun Meeres gave her every chance with a perfect position in the race but the mare simply failed to catch the Durrant pair in the straight.
(Meeres got his reward in the last when Our Larrikin flooded home to beat Malaika and New Time).
Dreamaway has not produced her performances of last year when she won five quality races in a row -the Champion Fillies Stakes, 1000 Guineas, Natasha Stakes and the WA Oaks and Derby.
Her runs since then have been disappointing with a failed Victorian campaign (three starts) followed by four ordinary runs, all unplaced, at Belmont.
Her recent runs over 1200-1400m hardly fitted her for this race and owner Bob Peters was right to caution punters mid-week.
Doubles were the order of the day for trainer Simon Miller and jockey Peter Knuckey.
Miller completed his second double in successive weeks when Hard Ball Get, on debut, and Bombora, the most improved galloper in the state, were both emphatic victors.
Hard Ball Get is by an American sire, Aussie Rules (interesting name given the stallion’s homeland), and was chosen by Miller for an enthusiastic group of owners one of whom, Pas Williams, purchased a 15% share for her husband as a birthday present.
Hard Ball Get was far too strong for Rusty Peaches a galloper that was aiming for two straight.
Technically a grey (although more bay) the gelding was scratchy out of the barrier at his first two trials but left the gates perfectly on his race debut.
Bombora completed a hat trick of wins when, from barrier five, Pat Carbery quickly had the Tiger Hill (Ire) gelding in fourth position, one out and one back, and despite being a little fierce in running he ran away from them when asked for an effort. Our Ol’ Fella and Belora filled the places.
Miller has the Hannans Handicap at Kalgoorlie as his mission but the trainer is not sure whether to start him again soon or turn him out for a short break.
Knuckey’s double on Hard Ball Get and the promising stayer Fair Hunter, who gave his trainer Jason Miller back-to-back victories with him, took him to within 11 wins of William Pike (67).
However, with Pike due to resume in less than two weeks it would now seem academic whether Knuckey can bridge the gap.
Pike would have to remain winless before the season’s last metropolitan meeting, on July 28, and Knuckey, in turn, would have to have some bumper days. Both are not likely.
On Saturday Knuckey had two seconds as well as his winning pair –thus bridging the gap appears to be a bridge too far.
Shaun O’Donnell, a clear third on the jockeys premiership (52.5), combined to win impressively with Rantorini.
Trainer Phil Humann has a good filly in Rantorini and her Belmont Oaks win was full of merit, over Just Wicked, giving her a second listed race success, and three wins overall in a seven race career.
The filly was trapped three wide but raced in a relaxed style, according to O’Donnell.
Trainer Fred Kersley took the quinella in the Dayana Plate (2000m) when Operational (Paul Harvey) powered home from 10th on the turn to win convincingly while Confianza edged out Shoot for Glory for second place.
Operational, like Bombora, is by Tiger Hill.
The favourite in the Dayana Plate, Flag Officer, after setting the pace, wilted to run seventh and there is now enough race evidence to show that 1800m is as far as he likes to go.