Perth trainer Chris Gangemi is banking on fitness to give Battle Hero a winning edge in the $150,000 Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) at Belmont on Saturday.
Battle Hero has been a revelation since he was bought for $60,000 off leading owner-breeder Bob Peters at a thoroughbred winter sale last June.
Under Gangemi’s direction, Battle Hero, a Stratum gelding, has raced on eight occasions for four wins and three minor placings.
His big scalps included Listed wins in the Summer Scorcher (1000m), Pinjarra Classic (1300m), the Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) and Northam Stakes (1100m).
Only the status of star stable mate Rock Magic prevented a fifth consecutive feature win after he ran second to him in last fortnight’s Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m).
But with Rock Magic bypassing the Belmont Sprint, Battle Hero is a popular pick to rebound.
He heads a tight TAB market ($3.50) with Material Man at $3.80 and Pounamu $3.90.
Material Man and Pounamu resume and lock horns for the first time since finishing one-two in the Perth Cup (2400m) in January.
Gangemi said in Rock Magic’s absence, Battle Hero has a great opportunity to end a brilliant campaign on a high.
“It definitely will make it a lot easier without Rocky (Rock Magic) to be contending with,” Gangemi said on Tabradio.
“A couple of good horses are coming back from spells and we are hoping our horse, who is rock-hard fit and in super form can get them on Saturday.
“Hopefully those other horses are not fully wound up, our horse seems to be spot on and I think he will be hard to beat.
“This is our blokes’ grand final while for the others their grand final is some way down the track.”
Gangemi, who won last year’s Belmont Sprint with Rock Magic, says Battle Hero will fight Great Shot for the lead.
Battle Hero has drawn barrier two and will be ridden by Jarrad Noske.
Great Shot will jump from barrier three. Regular hoop, Craig Staples, retains the mount.
“We will be trying to lead and hopefully Great Shot is happy to sit outside of us,” Gangemi said.
“There doesn’t appear to be any other speed in the race and if they do that they should still be there at the end.”