The spotlight remains on Perth this Saturday with the Group 1 Northerly Stakes headlining the nine-race card at Ascot.
Zaaki has made the journey west in search of another Group 1 for Annabel Neasham, while locals will be hoping for an improved effort from Railway Stakes runner-up, Alsephina.
There’s value to be found right across the program, and our best bets ahead of 2023 Northerly Stakes Day can be found here.
Race 1 - 2:05pm AEDT
Magic Millions Plate (1000 METRES)
Madhi Girl has gone up as the rightful short-priced favourite on debut.
By Winning Rupert, Simon Miller’s mare has won two trials at Belmont and Lark Hill in impressive fashion, the latter seeing her lead all the way and win in slick time.
This small field looks like an ideal leadoff point with Chris Parnham also sticking in the saddle.
1 Unit Madhi Girl
Race 2 - 2:45pm AEDT
Amelia Park Plate (1000 METRES)
Petula should find this drop back in class to her liking after tackling a couple of Stakes races recently.
She gave good chase after getting right back in the run to finish 2.5 lengths of Super Smink in the Belgravia, before holding her own in the Placid Ark where she finished within a similar margin of Ripcord.
Both of those assignments came over 1200m, but based on everything we’ve seen, she looks much better suited back over 1000m.
From the low gate with Brad Parnham sticking, I think she’ll be hard to beat.
1 Unit Petula
Race 3 - 3:25pm AEDT
Scenic Shot Handicap (2200 METRES)
Demolish has been working up to this trip quite nicely since resuming.
The Farnham-trained son of Rich Enuff has found the money in all three starts, stoking up nicely down the outside last Saturday over 1800m where he was only grabbed late by Desennea.
Two placings from as many starts over this trip really stands out on his resume, and providing the inside gate doesn’t go against him, his fitness should take him a long way here.
1 Unit Demolish
Race 4 - 4:05pm AEDT
Listed G.A. Towton Cup (2200 METRES)
Willy Pike hops aboard Black Fantasy for his fourth run back.
The lightly-raced five-year-old went around over slightly shorter a couple of weeks ago, leading for most of the way before his condition gave out around the 100m mark.
I thought he still held on well for third, and if this turns into more of a sprint come the finish, he should be hard to go past carrying only 54kgs.
2 Units Black Fantasy
Race 5 - 4:44pm AEDT
Westspeed Platinum Series Final (1400 METRES)
Keen to stick with Playz With Fire coming off another runner-up effort a fortnight ago.
The Playing God mare has gone close all prep, splitting a pair of runners over the track and distance last time out before being held up over the final furlong.
She should be given every chance again though from the soft draw and with a few of the other top chances mixing form of late, I think she’ll prove too good.
1 Unit Playz With Fire
Race 6 - 5:25pm AEDT
Westspeed Platinum Series Final (1400 METRES)
He’ll need a bit of luck from the gate, but Celebrity Prince looks more than capable of giving this a good shake based on recent form.
The gelding by Xtravagant has been airborne for most of this prep, flashing home late in his last two starts over 1200m where he’s clocked some slick times in the process.
He’ll need to settle closer to the speed this time, but if things go his way he should be running another huge race.
1 Unit E/W Celebrity Prince
Race 7 - 6:05pm AEDT
Furphy Handicap (1000 METRES)
Metallon looks set to peak third-up now with Pike back in the saddle.
The pair combined to finish 1.5 lengths off fresh over the same journey, a run the five-year-old improved on three weeks later when beaten by a similar margin under Jamie Kah over further.
He’s only lightly-raced, but he did win at this stage of his prep as a four-year-old. From barrier 3, he should be afforded a nice cart into the race from barrier 3.
1 Unit Metallon
Race 8 - 6:45pm AEDT
Group 1 Drummond Golf - Northerly Stakes (1800 METRES)
Zaaki heads to Perth for the first time coming off a good four-week gap between runs.
His spring resume reads nicely with a place behind Fangirl in the Winx Stakes fresh, before his most recent effort for fourth in the Champions Stakes where he was entitled to weaken late after copping plenty of pressure on-speed.
On class, he’s got lengths on this field, and just like Overpass last week, I think that will ultimately prove the difference.
2 Units Zaaki
Race 9 - 7:22pm AEDT
Have You Got The Touch Handicap (1600 METRES)
It’s hard to get away from Starry Heights in the last.
The price continues to shorten for this impressive four-year-old, which comes as no surprise on the back of an eye-catching win over 1400m first-up.
The fact he won by half a length after settling last out of the gates was telling, and while I don’t think Pike will adopt similar tactics here over the mile, it’s difficult to see anything beating the pair if they get clear air at the top of the straight.
Armed with an impressive turn of foot and a perfect 4:4-0-0 record over this trip, it’s hard to look elsewhere.
2 Units Starry Heights