Owner-breeder Bob Peters has followed jockey William Pike’s lead and identified Action as the pick of his five runners for Saturday’s TABtouch-Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot.
Peters, looking for his eighth Perth Cup, also has Mississippi Delta, Perfect Jewel, Royal Star and Star Exhibit engaged in the staying feature.
Action came up with barrier four at the draw earlier this morning and has firmed into the $3 TABtouch favourite.
Pike elected to stick with Action instead of jumping on Mississippi Delta, following his second placing to that mare in last Saturday’s ATA Stakes.
Despite being beaten, it was a performance by the Pierro gelding that suggested the 2400m of this week’s feature would be much more to his liking.
In the autumn, Action produced an encouraging fifth placing in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) a fortnight before the Group 2 WA Derby (2400m) and Peters is hopeful of a similar outcome when he steps up to the 2400m again on Saturday.
“It should be good from there (barrier four),” he told TABradio.
“The problem with him this time in is he’s grown.
“He’s bigger and stronger than he was last year.
“He hasn’t quite been ready for each of his runs.”
Action finished second in his first two starts this campaign, both over 1400m, before he was unplaced in the R.J. Peters Stakes (1500m), Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Towton Cup (2200m).
However, Peters said he saw enough in the half-length defeat to Mississippi Delta on Saturday to give him plenty of confidence for the Group 2 event.
“I thought it was very good,” he said.
“I could see William was about ready to take off and then Chris (Parnham, aboard Mississippi Delta) took off in front of him.
“When Mississippi takes off, she goes very quick.
“Probably another 100m and he wins the race.”
Parnham retains the ride aboard Mississippi Delta for the $500,000 event, after he saluted aboard her last weekend.
Mississippi Delta is on a one week back-up for just the second time in her career, which Peters said was his main concern with the mare.
The five-year-old’s only other time on the seven day back-up was earlier this campaign where she stepped up from 1600m to 2200m, of which she won on both occasions.
Grant and Alana Williams look after both Action and Mississippi Delta, while they will also saddle up Perfect Jewel and Queen Bey in the Cup.
Adam Durrant looks after Peters’ other two runners Star Exhibit and Royal Star.
Star Exhibit will be looking to become just the eighth multiple winner of the race, which he won in 2016.
Durrant said he expected the seven-year-old to improve on his last start fifth in the Group 2 Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) on December 22.
“He’s come on a fair bit since his last run,” he told TABradio.
“Whether it’s enough to get him back to the form that saw him win the race a few years ago, it’s questionable.
“He’s trimmed right up now.
“We’re hopeful, that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile, Misty Metal will be looking to win her second Listed race this campaign when she lines up in the Summer Scorcher (1000m) on Saturday.
After winning the Jungle Mist Classic on November 24, Misty Metal has been freshened-up and drops back to the short course trip this weekend and will start from barrier three in the eight horse field.
Co-trainer Todd Harvey said the mare was in “good order” ahead of the $100,000 event and was pleased with her trial on December 24 in preparation for it.
The Perth Cup gets underway at 4.35 on Saturday afternoon.