Saturday week’s Listed Belmont Guineas (1600m) is shaping up as one of the highlights of the winter season with a batch of top three-year-olds to press their claims in the $100,000 feature.
Headlining a stellar cast is the Stephen Miller-trained, Variation, who announced his arrival on the big stage when he took out the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot last November.
The War Chant gelding has been equally as impressive in his 2017 campaign, posting two city wins in April, including the Diggers Cup (1400m), before going out for a short freshen up.
Closing in on half-a-million dollars in prize money, Variation, will relish racing against his own age group after a sound fifth to Rock Magic in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) on June 3.
Simon Miller’s Blackline and Jeff Noske’s Salorsci are also legitimate contenders after recording top wins at Belmont last Saturday.
Blackline attacked the line strongly when stepping up to 1400m and could be about to realise the hype she created after winning a Pinjarra maiden by a whopping nine lengths in March.
Miller has a big opinion of the filly and says despite a 50 percent winning record from six starts, she is doing it on raw ability has yet to hit her full straps.
Noske breathed a sigh of relief after Salorsci surged back the winner’s stall with a jump and run victory.
Salorsci suffered his first loss at his previous start, but restored order to turn the tables on Minus Looks and score by 1 ½ lengths.
And Fontainebleau underlined her claims with a dominant performance to take out the Kalgoorlie Reunion Handicap (1700m) on Wednesday.
The Grant and Alana trained filly, ridden by Glen Smith, won with a leg in the air, spacing her next rival, Elsa’s Tribe, by 3 ¼ lengths.
The daughter of Alfred Nobel was second up this campaign and showed she was up to top company when fourth to Awaken in the Listed Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m) at Ascot earlier in March.
Smith said Fontainebleau would only improve as she stepped over further ground.
“She actually relaxed beautifully and will stay all day,” Smith said.