Trainer Fred Kersley believes Debellatio will face an acid test when the promising colt launches his WA Guineas (1600m) campaign at Ascot this weekend.
Kersley’s major concerns are Debellataio’s wide barrier and a fitness edge he concedes to several of his main rivals in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m).
Debellatio, a $30,000 yearling, resumes first-up off a trial after he made a cameo appearance at Belmont Park in the spring, racing twice for one victory.
The son of Smart Missile is certain to have a host of admirers on his return after he emerged as one of Perth’s best two-year-old’s last season.
After running a neck third in the Karrakatta Plate (1200m), Debellatio ended his juvenile campaign in a blaze of glory with victory in the Group 3 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).
Kersley, who won the Fairetha Stakes previously with Grand Nirvana (2008), says Debellatio has performed well, but how far he can progress in major races will be assessed after Saturday’s $100,000 feature.
“If he is good enough he is fit enough,” Kersley told Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“He competes with horses who clearly are more race fit than he is.
“It will come down to how good he is and how good are they.
“He is one of the better ones I have got.
“But I’m not sure that says a lot either.
“This horse has done very little wrong.
“I thought he was unlucky in the Karrakatta.
“I think he is a pretty nice horse and there are other horses with good current form and race fitness on their side.”
In a field of 12 entrants Debellatio has drawn the widest barrier and will be ridden by Daniel Staeck.
The experienced hoop is chasing his second Fairetha Stakes success after partnering the Christine Stelmach-trained Dark Target (2007).
Debellatio ($6) is on the third line of betting behind Arcadia Prince ($2.40) and Achernar Star ($4.40).
Arcadia Prince, a member of Grant and Alana Williams’ powerful stable, is looking to extend his unbeaten campaign to three straight wins.
The Pierro gelding earned his position as favourite after running on powerfully to defeat Debellatio’s stable mate Necklet over 1400m on October 21.
From barrier one, Arcadia Prince will have the services of leading jockey, William Pike.
“He went super and is looking forward to racing again after a few weeks,” Grant Williams said.
“The barrier is definitely an advantage.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli