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The Perth Spring Racing Carnival comes to a close this Saturday with the running of WA's premier staying race - the Group 2 Perth Cup.
The big news during the week was of course leading jockey William Pike choosing to jump off the Cox Stakes winner and red hot favourite, Delicacy, in favour of stablemate Neverland.
The forecast for this weekend is particularly interesting, with 39 degree heat predicted but a possible thunderstorm to accompany it. However, there's only a 40% chance of rain and only 1mm predicted, so we might remain on a Good surface for the day.
Pace in the race looks fairly genuine, especially with Kirov Boy drawn the carpark, and the chance that Real Love could go forward from out wide too. Bedamijo will more than likely lead the field following his good win last week in the ATA Stakes.
The burning question is where Delicacy will settle from barrier 1, which could very well lead to her demise if she gets caught up in traffic behind tiring horses. She typically comes from off the pace but I'm not sure that's an option from the inside gate in a race like this. With 59kg on her back they will want to make sure she doesn't have to stop and start in the final 600m, so there is a chance she could settle right on the leaders back.
Pike will have to navigate barrier 10 for Neverland but that's probably better than getting stuck in traffic like she did in the ATA Stakes behind Bedamijo.
Let's take a quick look at all the runners:
DELICACY: Dual Group 1 winning mare, winner of 11 of her 18 starts and a dominant winner of the Cox Stakes two weeks ago. Has to set records by carrying 59kg on her back which is not easy to do, especially for a mare, but I'm backing her to do it. She's an extremely gifted mare, barrier 1 means she won't have to spend a penny, and if she gets a run she can defy the weight.
REAL LOVE: 2014 Perth Cup winner when she led from start to finish. Hasn't quite recaptured that form despite a brilliant win first up, and I just don't think she's as good as Delicacy. Drawn the carpark, she can fill a placing.
BALMONT GIRL: Terrific run in the Railway three starts back but didn't handle the conditions in the Kingston Town and then raced flat last start. Not the kind of run you want heading into a 2400m race. At her best she can place, but she may have had enough this time in.
ASK ME NICELY: Was just grinding his way into 5th behind Delicacy last start. Does get an 8kg weight swing but doubt he will feature in the finish.
BEDAMIJO: Super win leading from start to finish in the ATA Stakes last start. Beat Neverland by 2.25 lengths (although she was severely held up) and was eased up on the line. Racing in terrific form, gets an easy lead from barrier 2 with no weight. Tough to run down!
DARK MUSKET: Ran super to finish 3rd in the Kingston Town Classic at 150/1 and then was blocked the majority of the straight last start. Drawn the carpark, if he repeats his Kingston Town run he can finish in the money.
DUBAI ESCAPADE: Good win over 2100m in the Tattersalls Cup last start but this is significantly harder than that and the draw doesn't make it any easier for him.
DUST ME OFF: Won a 2200m race two starts back at $61 but once again this is an infinitely tougher task. Comfortably beaten by Bedamijo last start.
FULGUR: Was well supported two weeks ago and ran accordingly to finish 2nd. Wet track may have helped him that day because he's since run a shocker. Pass.
KIROV BOY: Putting in some very inconsistent performances recently but has placed at both attempts over 2400m here. Drawn barrier 20 (down to 16) which might force him to go forward. Not good enough anyway.
NEVERLAND: Really should have won the race won by Bedamijo last start but was held up horribly in the straight. Sprouted wings when she got clear and hit the line with force. Pike made the huge call to jump off Delicacy and ride this horse due to the 5kg difference in the weights and it's not often he gets it wrong. Big chance.
PROPERANTES: Won a 2200m race two starts ago over Bedamijo and then looked to peak on his run last start over the same distance. Drops slightly in weight and drawn very well. If he can run to his best he can fill a placing.
RESPONDENT: Comes into this 4th run back from a spell and ready to peak. Peaked on his run last when 4th behind Bedamijo, but he went from 1400m straight up to 2200m on that occasion and carried 59kg so he should be much better suited here on the minimum weight. Drawn very well, decent roughie.
SAVANAROLA: Kept his fantastic 3rd up record going with a great win last start, albeit in significantly easier company. I think he'd be a sneaky place chance if not for his wide draw. If he can find cover he may well pick up a cheque.
TOWER OF LONHRO: Drops down in the weights again but he's racing well below his best and there's nothing to suggest he will turn it around.
WOODSVILLE: Beaten a combined 26.25 lengths in his last three starts. No thanks.
It looked to be a race dominated by Bob & Sandra Peters runners and that's exactly the way this one will play out.
Happy to stick with star mare DELICACY despite the 59kg and I'm just hoping Peter Hall gives her a good ride from barrier 1. She is clearly the best horse in the race, and I am willing to bet she can carry 59kg to victory. Her normal rider William Pike chose to jump off her to ride stablemate NEVERLAND, and he is rarely wrong when he has the choice of rides. Barrier 10 is good for her as it will allow him to stay out of trouble, and if Delicacy doesn't win then this one probably will. I'm just banking on the fact that Delicacy is a star and Neverland is still open to improvement.
Behind those it does look a fairly thin line up of talent. I think RESPONDENT is a good hope of filling a place. He comes into this ready to peak at his 4th run back and he gets all the favours from barrier 6. BEDAMIJO produced a great performance to win the ATA Stakes over Neverland and from barrier 2 he will get a relatively easy lead.
REAL LOVE has it all to do from barrier 17 but she is a quality mare on her day and shouldn't be discounted, while PROPERANTES can fill a placing if he produces his best and not what we saw last start.
A blowout place chance could be last start winner SAVANAROLA, though he has a big job ahead of him from his wide draw.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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