Group 1 racing returns to Perth this weekend with the $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) headlining the nine-race card at Ascot.
Last weekend’s program was tricky to navigate thanks to the rain-affected track, but the good news is we’re expecting fine weather on Saturday with the track currently rated a Soft 5.
We’ve analysed each and every runner in our Railway Stakes Preview, while you can also find our tips for all nine races on the day below.
Race 1 - 2:09pm AEDT
Tourism WA Trophy (1200m)
William Pike should be able to open his day with a win aboard the Peters-owned Long Beach.
The son of I Am Invincible won over the track and distance earlier in the Autumn and is now coming off a strong last start second behind Elite Street in a BM72 over the 1100m.
He probably would’ve won that race if he didn’t find traffic down the straight, but based on where he’s drawn here with Pike jumping on board, he should be getting the job done as the short-priced favourite.
3 Units Long Beach
Race 2 - 2:49pm AEDT
Mumm Champagne-Crystal Slipper Stakes (1100m)
Liwa put in a quality effort for fifth on debut over the track and distance and I’m happy to go with her on top second-up.
She let down beautifully in her first look at the races and was just overcome by a few late swoopers over the final 100m.
Trainer Simon Miller is known to have his horses ready to peak a few runs into their prep, and based on her two brilliant trial wins last month, she’s more than up to winning a race like this if she can establish a spot up on the speed.
2 Units Liwa
Race 3 - 3:29pm AEDT
BM72 Handicap (2200m)
Paddy’s Shadow doesn’t win out of turn but she should be the definite improver heading into this race after running on for fifth over the mile a fortnight ago.
That looks to be the run she needed after losing out by only a nose two runs back to Double Digit over the track and distance.
Raquel Williams’ six-year-old mare gets in light again at the weights and she should be doing her best work late from the wide draw.
1 Unit E/W Paddy’s Shadow
Race 4 - 4:09pm AEDT
Listed Ark Stakes (1200m)
Mystical View is a much better horse than last week’s result in the Group 3 W.A. Champion Fillies Stakes suggests.
The Grant and Alana Williams-trained three-year-old jumped a little awkwardly from out wide and never really made up ground on the heavy track finishing 10 of 13.
She’s worth forgiving on that run however, and I do think the short backup is a nice option for her with William Pike jumping back on board.
The pair won by over a length at Belmont during the Autumn and should get a lovely run in transit from barrier 8.
The blinkers go on and she should be finishing much closer.
2 Units Mystical View
Race 5 - 4:44pm AEDT
Peoplestart Handicap (1400m)
The lightly-raced Western Empire is the first emergency in the W.A. Guineas, but if she doesn’t make it in she should be at least winning her maiden here.
The three-year-old mare has found the placings in each of her two runs to date and was unlucky not to score when a nose second to Kallaroo last start in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m).
William Pike replaces Chris Farnham in the saddle, and from the soft draw with only 55kg on her back, she should take a real power of beating.
Sophie’s Song could be worth a look each-way if Western Empire does make it into the Guineas.
She’s a two-time track and distance winner and is back to the 1400m after grabbing a place over the mile last start.
3 Units Western Empire
1 Unit E/W Sophie’s Song
Race 6 - 5:20pm AEDT
Group 2 Sky Racing W.A. Guineas (1600m)
You could easily make a case for a handful of these, but I’m sticking with Brave Angel on top following last week’s storming run on the outside to grab third in the W.A. Fillies Champions Stakes.
I think the form out of that race reads well for the contest and the short backup should suit her nicely after drawing an almost identical gate.
The mare by Tavistock couldn’t have been more impressive two runs back winning her maiden by two lengths, while the fact the Patrick Carbery has retained the ride can only be seen as a plus.
After making up so much ground in last week’s sticky conditions, there’s no doubt she’ll bolt home again on a firmer surface.
1 Unit Brave Angel
Race 7 - 6:00pm AEDT
Crown Perth-Jungle Mist Classic (1200m)
This is a much easier race for Flower Of War after finding no real luck at Listed and Group level earlier in her prep.
She gets back to mares grade on Saturday where she won three times during the Autumn and should take a power of beating here carrying only 57.5kg.
The daughter of War Chant is a four-time track and distance winner and should relish racing over this trip with three weeks between runs.
2 Units Flower Of War
Race 8 - 6:40pm AEDT
Group 1 Kirin-Railway Stakes (1600m)
Hard to get away from Inspirational Girl getting all the favours.
The awkward draw makes things a little tricky, but more than confident William Pike can get the job done on his way to a Railway hat-trick not only for himself, but also the Grant and Alana Williams team.
She flew home to win the Group 3 Asian Beau three weeks ago ahead of Too Close The Sun, and with only 53kg on her back, she should see out the mile no problem on Saturday.
Also have a lot of time for Material Man having finished third in this race two years ago.
He’s a three-time winner first-up and should be running a big race here based on last week’s trial at Belmont.
2 Units Inspirational Girl
1 Unit Material Man E/W
Race 9 - 7:20pm AEDT
Listed Carbine Club of W.A. Stakes (1400m)
Sticking with Flow to atone for last year’s disappointment in this race when he finished a nose second to Uni Time.
The son of Street Cry suffered a similar fate last week running second to Truly Great in the Group 3 R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m), but after looking at his form, he doesn’t know how to run a bad race on the short backup.
The seven-year-old has found the money in three of his five runs this time in work, and since he is a five-time winner over this trip, he really has no excuses.
1 Unit E/W Flow