A rare visit to Perth is on the cards for Geraldton trainer Albert Bowtell as he aims to get Westozi into next month’s WA Derby (2400m) at Ascot.

The staying classic for three-year-old’s is very much on the radar for Bowtell after Westozi continued his excellent progress at Geraldton last Thursday.

Notching a hatrick and four wins from his past five starts this campaign, the Awesome Rock gelding scored a hard fought victory over 2100m.

Westozi conceded 5kg to the runner-up, Egg White, but under jockey Chris Nicholl he kicked back strongly on the inside after being headed in the straight.

Bowtell says Westozi can put a real stamp on his WA Derby claims when he runs in Saturday week’s J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m) at Ascot.

Bowtell admits the WA Derby is a pipe dream, but says he’s excited with Westozi’s progress since a surprise arrival at his stable.

“He did it tough way the other day and that was the defining run,” Bowtell told The Races WA.

“That was the turning point I think, he had the hard run punching the breeze most of the journey.

“He got headed and still won with 60kg, gee whizz.

“He hasn’t bottomed by a long way and still has so much improvement.

“He’s developing all the time and still doesn’t know where he wants to be.

“The Roberts is in my mind for sure in a fortnight and the 1800m will be right up his alley.

“The Roberts, the Melvista (2200m) and then the Derby would be the ultimate goal.

“Hopefully he trains on as he’s had a few runs now, but he pulls up so well.”

There’s a fair bit of water to go under the bridge before the WA Derby, but Bowtell is delighted to have a horse that’s even in consideration.

Westozi has thrived in his new surroundings in Geraldton after commencing his career with a couple of runs for top Perth trainer’s Dan and Ben Pearce.

Bowtell says he’s rapt to have Westozi in his stable.

“It was right place at right time,” Bowtell said.

“How things can change overnight.

“A lovely fella, Paul Officer, races horses with Summer Dickson and just contacted me to say the Pearce boys were bringing the horse up.

“He heard I was looking to lease a maiden and said to have a look and see what I thought.

“I liked the look of him and said I would lease him straight away.”

Bowtell says he can’t wait to see how the next few weeks unfold for Westozi.

“We don’t deal with these types of horses in the country, Bowtell said.

“I’ve been around horses all my life with my girls and my wife.

“When you get something like this it’s terribly exciting.

“It takes over your life to be quite honest.”

Tabtouch has Westozi currently rated a $26 chance in their all in WA Derby market.

The $400,000 Group 2 WA Derby is run on April 8.

Julio Santarelli