Jim Taylor’s quality mare Searchin’ Roc’s gave raging favourite Western Empire an all mighty scare two weeks ago, but the task won’t be any easier when they renew hostilities at Belmont this weekend.

Western Empire had to pull out all stops and was in serious jeopardy of falling short, but after taking the length of the straight to nab Searchin’ Roc’s he won the Belmont Sprint (1400m) by a short half head.

It was the second straight feature double for Western Empire after winning the Northam Stakes (1300m) and continued his resurgence under trainers Grant and Alana Williams after an unsuccessful stint in Melbourne.

The second instalment of Western Empire and Searchin’ Roc’s winter showdown is Saturday’s Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) and despite going close last time, Taylor fears his mare faces an uphill task to reverse the result.

“Over a mile you think Western Empire is going to get better and improve,” Taylor said to The Races WA.

“That’s probably the biggest thing whereas Searchin’ Roc’s best distance is probably 1400 metres.

“You think the mile will be positive for Western Empire, if it was back at 1400m you would be thinking she could nearly beat him.

“They are setting him for a Cox Plate, so he’s a class horse and we did get a beautiful run the other day in the Belmont Sprint.

“I would rather if Western Empire wasn’t in there.”

Western Empire and Searchin’ Roc’s finished one-two in the Belmont Sprint and occupy the same pecking order with Tabtouch.

Western Empire, a Group 1 champion of the Railway Stakes (1600m) three years ago, is the $1.85 favourite after he was $1.90 when markets opened on Wednesday.

Searchin’ Roc’s is next at $8 and improving five-year-old Magnificent Andy, third in the Belmont Sprint and with stablemate Last Of The Line, one of two runners for Stephen Miller, is $10.

Searchin’ Roc’s has drawn barrier one, the exact starting position as the Belmont Sprint, and will be in the hands of inform rider, Steven Parnham, fresh from Wednesday’s midweek treble.

With more rain forecast to hit Perth for the remainder of this week, Belmont Park is certain to be in the soft or heavy range for Saturday’s meeting.

Searchin’ Roc’s is ultra effective on wet tracks with two wins and a second from three attempts on soft ground and two wins from two on heavy.

Although cautious over halting the dominance of Western Empire in the Hyperion Stakes, Taylor is an unashamed fan of Searchin’ Roc’s.

After joining his stable two years ago she’s collected wins in the Group 3 Peters’ Stakes (1500m) and Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m).

“She’s the best I’ve had for a long time,” Taylor said.

Taylor is chasing his second success in the Hyperion Stakes after Country Blazer’s 2001 victory.

Elite Belle gave Grant and Alana Williams their sole Hyperion win in 2014.

Steven Parnham rode Tarzi, trained by his father, Neville Parnham, to win the 2009 Hyperion Stakes.

Julio Santarelli