Alan Mathews fears Paul Harvey’s sublime riding skills presents the biggest threat to Rock Giselle turning the tables on Dark Alert at Bunbury this afternoon.
Rock Giselle and the Joe Miller-trained Dark Alert face off against each other in a return battle in the $120,000 Listed XXXX-Gold Bunbury Cup (2200m).
The pair fought out a thrilling finish in last Sunday week’s The Bull & Bush Tavern Cup (2019m) with Harvey lifting Dark Alert to a short half-head victory.
For Harvey, the winner of a record 12 Perth jockey premierships, it was his first major win since launching a comeback to racing after a nine-month absence.
“The way he rode it was like the Paul Harvey of old,” Mathews said.
“He dictated the race tactics and seems to have his enthusiasm back.
“If he produces another ride like that Dark Alert will be hard to beat.”
On Tabtouch markets Dark Alert is favoured to maintain his dominance for the second consecutive time over Rock Giselle.
Dark Alert, to carry top weight of 59.5kg, is the $3.40 market elect with Rock Giselle and Cappo D’Oro on the next line at $5.
Rock Giselle, a winner at 2200m in January, has been placed at her past three starts.
Mathews said the Fastnet Rock mare, to carry 54kg for jockey Pat Carbery, was capable of breaking through.
“She gets in well at the weights and there is room for improvement,” Mathews said.
“She is lightly raced and not the full bottle yet.
“But she is maturing and improving with each run.”
Meanwhile Michael Lane says his confidence in Plays The Game was boosted after the gelding’s work during the week.
The former New Zealand import vindicated a spot in the Bunbury Cup after showing his stamina to win a 2219m race at Bunbury last-start.
The five-year-old, under the hands of ace jockey, Chris Parnham, charged to the line and got up in the last stride to defeat Magical Charm by a short-neck.
Lane is optimistic Plays The Game, who has firmed from $21 to $16 with Tabtouch, can meet a steep class rise in the Bunbury Cup.
“It’s a big jump, but he is going good this horse and has really settled since coming from New Zealand,” Lane told Tabradio.
“When I got him I thought we’ve got a real lemon and that the New Zealanders had got us again.
“But his work yesterday (Tuesday) was second to none it’s the best he has ever worked.”