Ace mare Delicacy has the Perth Cup (2400) at her mercy after winning the Group 2 C.B.Cox Stakes (2100m) with ease at Ascot on Saturday.
The only consideration for trainer, Grant Williams and owner, Bob Peters, is whether to start Delicacy in the Group 2 feature on January 2.
“She is not a certainty,” Peters said.
“I will look at the field and weights.
“There are probably two or three different options that I’m looking at.”
Delicacy posted her first win since taking Perth and Australian racing by storm last season.
She won six consecutive feature races between February and May, capped off with a Dual Group 1 double in Adelaide.
The daughter of Al Maher was crowned Australia’s leading three-year-old filly and WA Horse-of-the Year, last season.
Delicacy clawed one back after a heartbreaking nose second to stable mate Perfect Reflection in last Saturday week’s Kingston Town Classic (1800m)
It followed a first-up third in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) and a fast-finishing sixth in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
Peters said Delicacy deserved her victory but was favoured by conditions of the race.
“Everything was in her favour,” Peters said.
“The weight, barrier and distance.
“If she didn’t win today she obviously hadn’t come back.”
Delicacy gave Williams and the powerful cerise and white army of Peters with a treble after earlier wins to Antique Dream and Cosmic Storm.
Pike, who partnered Cosmic Storm, posted his second consecutive Cox Stakes success after the ill fated, Elite Belle, scored last year.
Meanwhile Brett Pope celebrated his best win as a trainer when he prepared Tarquinn Shadow to an upset victory in the Starstruck Classic (1600m).
The fillies and mares feature was seen as a race in two with Blackwood and Ideal Image dominating betting as first and second favourite respectively.
But it was Tarquinn Shadow, starting a $28.40 outsider, who prevailed after being gifted a gun ride from top jockey, Lucy Warwick.
Last season’s top apprentice had Tarquinn Shadow track Blackwood before angling out and commencing her winning run on straightening.
Tarquinn Shadow flashed home to defeat Vital Importance, brave in defeat after racing wide throughout, by 3/4 of a length with, Ideal Image third.
Blackwood had every opportunity but raced flat to finish fourth. The end of a gruelling campaign appears to have taken hold on the Fred Kersley-trained filly.
Pope, based at Pinjarra and son of former top horseman, Bill, said Tarquinn Shadow’s lead up form was better than what it appeared.
The Trade Fair mare won first-up but placed eighth at her next two starts behind Tales Of Summer and Thunderclap Newman.
“I thought she was going as good as ever,” Pope said.
“She won first-up and second-up she copped a track that you couldn’t come from behind.
“Last start she hit a real bog track when Damien Oliver rode her and he said to forget she went around.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli