Perth trainer Simon Miller is not concerned his talented sprinter, First Among Equals, will carry top weight when he makes a surprising return in Saturday’s Beaufine Stakes (1000m) at Belmont.
Miller had planned on giving First Among Equals a lengthy break and bypassing the Belmont winter season after he pulled up sore in the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville in May.
First Among Equals ran 12th to star WA-owned galloper Vega Magic, but was galloped on and had to remain in Adelaide for several weeks after sustaining a nasty gash.
As the highest rated horse in the Beaufine Stakes, First Among Equals has a clear class edge over his 10 rivals and will start a hot favourite to claim his fifth Listed success.
Included in his 11 wins from 26 starts are the Northam Stakes (1100m), the Pinjarra Classic (1300m), Bolton Sprint (1200m) and Belmont Newmarket (1200m).
First Among Equals, a winner of almost $700,000 in prizemoney, will lump 61kg in the Beaufine Stakes and jump from barrier one for jockey Aaron Mitchell.
Miller says he enters the race with super confidence.
“He had two weeks in Adelaide after the leg healed up, but he was doing too well at home and I thought the Beaufine would be a perfect starting point,” Miller said.
“I was prepared to chance my arm because all the real good sprinters are in the paddock or coming into work getting ready for the summer carnival.
“On paper it looked a little bit scary because I really didn’t know who was going to be there, but when the weights came out we are thrown into it.
“We are very well weighted and it’s good to have a good horse in it because without him the rest of the field is not a stakes race.”
Champion jockey William Pike believes Dendee can cause an upset in the Beaufine Stakes, banking on the mare’s first-up record and light weight.
“I know she is a very good fresh horse and we have a light weight,” Pike said.
“I think it’s her best chance to pick one of these races up.”
On the 54kg minimum, Dendee has drawn barrier nine. The daughter of Denman, a winner in two of three first-up races, won the Marjorie Charleson Classic (1200m) and Sheila Gwynne Classic (1400m).