Black type racing continues at Belmont in Perth on Saturday and the Strickland Stakes headlines the nine-race program.
The rail will be set out three metres around the entire course and at publish, we’re faced with a track rated in the Soft (6) range.
Race 1 - 1:58pm AEST
Free Entry To Belmont Park Plate (1200m)
Guard The Safe was an impressive winner here at Belmont last time out and he can win again on Saturday.
The Safeguard gelding has improved noticeably with each of his three starts since debuting, and he was rewarded for his building condition a fortnight ago.
This does look a little harder, but he has plenty of upside.
2 Units Guard The Safe
Race 2 - 2:37pm AEST
Westspeed Platinum Handicap (1200m)
Express Time is another last-start winner with claims again at Belmont on Saturday.
The War Chant mare clearly needed the run when she failed to quicken and beat just one runner home here earlier this month, but enjoyed wholesale improvement for the effort and was very impressive last time.
Fitter third-up and getting further out in trip, I can’t find a reason why she won’t be in the finish again.
3 Units Express Time
Race 3 - 3:17pm AEST
Jane Carr 50th Birthday Handicap (1600m)
Crescent City can continue his rise through the grades at Belmont on Saturday.
The Fiorente gelding finished third at each of his first two career starts in summer and picked up where he left off with another credible effort to fill the minors at Northam earlier this month.
He converted that performance into a lovely win over 1400m last time out and breeding suggests that the rise in trip will be beneficial this week.
4 Units Crescent City
Race 4 - 3:53pm AEST
Vale Paul Stillitano Handicap (1000m)
Secret Plan hasn’t been seen at the races since March, but he can make a winning return at Belmont on Strickland Stakes Day.
The I Am Invincible gelding has missed placing only once in five career starts so far and form around some talented gallopers last prep.
He returned an eye-catching performance at the trials in the lead-up to his return and he’ll be ridden by Willie Pike.
3 Units Secret Plan
Race 5 - 4:43pm AEST
Amelia Park Handicap (1000m)
Miss Conteki doesn’t know how to run a bad race and looms as the runner to beat again in the fifth at Belmont on Saturday.
The Eurozone mare has recorded seven wins from her eight starts since debuting and as that record would suggest, she has been nothing short of outstanding this time.
She’s rock-hard fit and can win again.
5 Units Miss Conteki
Race 6 - 5:20pm AEST
Peninsula Dining Room Handicap (1300m)
This looks to be a race in two between the Grant & Alana Williams-trained Devoted Star and Secret Statue, and I am going to give the former another chance to win.
Devoted Star returned to the races with a lovely effort to only just miss over 1000m here and she was caught wide in running last time, but finished off well.
Fitter third-up and with better luck, she looks ready to strike.
4 Units Devoted Star
Race 7 - 5:55pm AEST
Crown Perth Handicap (2200m)
This shapes as one of the more open contests on Strickland Stakes Day and there is a case to be made for several runners, including Black Shadow.
Black Shadow has been a strong and consistent performer this prep and hasn’t missed placing at his last six appearances, winning twice.
His most recent effort to score at this track and distance was particularly good, and a repeat would see him into the finish again.
2 Units Black Shadow
Race 8 - 6:25pm AEST
Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m)
Saturday’s feature race at Belmont has drawn a field full of the usual suspects and I am happy to stick with The Velvet King.
The Velvet King has picked off plenty of races like this one throughout his career, and he returned to the nation’s west and racing this time for a lovely win in the Belmont Sprint.
He was reasonably luckless when fifth, beaten two lengths in the Hyperion Stakes a fortnight ago, but getting out to 2000m at this point of his prep should be ideal.
4 Units The Velvet King
Race 9 - 6:55pm AEST
Furphy Handicap (1400m)
Bright Diamond is ready to win when she steps out on Strickland Stakes Day.
The I Am Invincible mare has been a strong and consistent performer since making her debut and she has improved for two starts back from a spell this time, both credible placings in similar races.
Fitter third-up and under Willie Pike, this looks the ideal race for her.
4 Units Bright Diamond