Dean Nazzari admits he is more than surprised by the form of Hiatus who returns to tackle the Kingsgate Cup (1200m) at Kalgoorlie on Sunday.
Hiatus arrived from New South Wales earlier this season with a reputation as a speed machine that could travel no further than 900m.
The Exceed and Excel gelding put paid to that perception with successive wins over 1100m before stretching out to 1200m at his final run this preparation on May 27.
Hiatus was denied the perfect strike rate after running a creditable fourth to Lisetta when Nazzari ventured to Belmont Park earlier in May.
Hiatus, who has drawn perfectly in barrier one for Misty Bazeley, has a first up record of one win and two placings from four attempts.
“He certainly has been the surprise packet of the season,” said Nazzari.
“He has performed above and beyond expectations.
“His work since a brief spell has been very good and he is ready to perform.
“He has drawn ideally and I think he will put in another solid effort.”
The Dan Morton-trained Big Josh has been in stellar form and looms as the horse to beat in the Western Areas Wager Handicap (1760m).
The Blackfriars gelding is unbeaten in three starts this preparation and last Sunday week he easily accounted for Morsecodian when stepping up to 1600m.
A likely challenger to Big Josh will be Nadeem mare Carla, another Nazzari new comer who scored a slashing win over the mile last week.
The four-year-old, ridden by Rayce Nielson, ran on solidly from fourth position and cleared away to score by a dominant 2 ¼ lengths.
“My only concern is the seven day turnaround but her owners are keen to run her in the Tatt’s Cup so she needs to boost her ratings points,” said Nazzari.
“She is coming along nicely and there is further scope for improvement.
“I’m confident she will develop into a better horse next preparation when she fills out a bit.”
Stable mate Faretheewell has copped barrier nine in the field of ten for the Reed Resources Meekatharra Sprint (1400m).
Nazzari believes the Trade Fair mare can rebound and improve after a fair ninth to Hearts A Flutter last weekend.
“Forget the run as there were plenty of excuses,” said Nazzari.
“She is a bit better than that although the wide barrier is a concern.”
Meanwhile Nazzari reports Brother Patrick is back in full work and will have a 1400m run in Perth before tacking the Coolgardie Cup (1600m) on September 2.