ELITE STREET ON TRACK FOR MELBOURNE

8
Feb

After days of uncertainty and consternation for trainer Dan Morton, he confirmed star sprinter Elite Street will take his place in Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.

Elite Street and stablemate Kissonallforcheeks were set to fly to Melbourne last week, but those plans were scuttled after Perth went into Covid-19 lock down and disrupted flight plans.

Morton seriously contemplated staying in Perth and running Elite Street in Saturday’s Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, but had a last-minute change of heart and committed to his original strategy.

“Sunday he was not going and I was staying at home, but the plan all along was to go for the Lightning and Newmarket,” Morton told The Races WA.

“Because of Racing Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions I will have to hand him over for a week, but for the sake of a few days I was comfortable to do that.

“Nick Ryan will oversee his preparation this week and is a very good horseman who rides work himself.

“The prospect of a small field in the Lightning Stakes was also an opportunity for good prizemoney.

“He had a good gallop at Pinjarra on Saturday and is in good order.”

Mark Zahra has been booked to ride Elite Street, a $15 chance with Tabtouch in the Lightning Stakes.

Bivouac the $2.50 favourite with Nature Strip $4.50 and September Run $6.

Elite Street is chasing consecutive Group 1 success after his last start win in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in November.

While Morton opted to press ahead with an interstate campaign for Elite Street, Kissonallforcheeks has been held back and won’t contest the Group 3 Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

“It was risk versus reward,” Morton said.

“The Vanity is a $160,000 race and there is the Challenge Stakes (1500m) worth $100,000 at home.

“If she blows them away she can still come across to Melbourne later and I’ll be able to link up with her.

“If the landscape changes there is still an opportunity of going interstate.”

A winner of the Lee Steere Stakes (1200m) last December, the three-year-old filly won first-up over 1100m last month.

The Challenge Stakes (1500m), run at Listed level and the Cyril Flower Stakes, highlight Ascot racing on Saturday.

Julio Santarelli