Playing God and Grand Nirvana, two top liners of WA racing, kick off their respective campaigns in the Listed Birthday Stakes (1200m) at Belmont Park tomorrow.
The equine millionaires are the headline acts in $80,000 feature, along with Adam Durrant’s Texan who is racing in rare form and out to complete a feature race double.
The former New South Wales galloper, previously in the care of master trainer Gai Waterhouse, landed his best win in Kalgoorlie’s feature sprint , the Hannan’s Handicap (1400m).
With seven wins and five placings from 13 WA appearances, the son of Stratum has flourished under Durrant’s tutelage.
“Although Texan may lack the class of a Playing God, Grand Nirvana or Werd, he will hopefully be able to make that up in fitness,” said Durrant.
“And I don’t think those horses are going to be wound up at this stage of their preparation.
“It’s going to be a solidly run race which will suit Texan and hopefully he can expose a few of the brilliant ones who are looking at better races down the track.
“He is in good order and has pulled up well from Kalgoorlie.”
Playing God will carry the top weight of 62kg and warmed up for his return with an impressive trial win over 1000m at Belmont on Tuesday.
The son of Blackfriars hit the line strongly to edge out boom sprinter Barakey and Birthday Stakes rival Werd.
“He had been working very in good order and I expected him to go well but he went better than I thought, said jockey Steven Parnham.
“I liked the way he travelled to the line and he was doing it comfortably.
“I’m looking forward to him racing.”
Playing God is being aimed at the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 10.
Grand Nirvana has been handed 60kg and resumes after running into Luckgray during a winter preparation.
Grand Nirvana ran third in the Roma Cup (1200m) and a gallant second in the Hyperion Stakes (1600m).
“He may need the run to bring him to his top,” said trainer Fred Kersley.
“But I’m very happy with his progress and it’s good to have him back at the races.”
Also resuming and coming off a solid trial win is Bunbury galloper Kerrific, prepared by the Bruce Watkins and Gary Hitchcock combination.
The Blackfriars gelding generally races well fresh and has found the money in three of four first up attempts.