West Australian speedster Black Hart Bart faces his acid test on Saturday tackling proven Group I gallopers in the $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville but Racenet’s western state form man Aaron Mills suspects the horse is up to the task.
Mills writes, Backing Perth-trained horses against classy eastern state-based rivals is often fraught with danger. While the likes of Northerly, Miss Andretti, Hay List and, in recent weeks, Delicacy have made the cut, there are plenty of so-called local champs that have failed to measure up.
Group I winners Barakey and Magnifisio come to mind. While each had excuses for their interstate failures – Barakey in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington and Magnifisio in the Robert Sangster Stakes in Adelaide two weeks ago – their reputations took immediate hits after being defeated.
So what can we make of prolific winner Black Heart Bart ahead of this weekend’s Group I Darley Goodwood, a race that may springboard him to further glory in Queensland this winter?
The Vaughn Sigley-trained gelding has burst onto the scene this season winning seven from 10 including five stakes races and while the Goodwood looks highly competitive there are some pointers to him running a big race.
Significant is the fact Black Heart Bart defeated Winterbottom Stakes placegetter Watermans Bay in Listed grade at Ascot in February. Watermans Bay has since won a Group III race at Flemington, beating home the likes of Sistine Demon and smart Perth three-year-old Disposition.
The hulking son of Blackfriars subsequently scored effortless wins in two provincial sprint features over moderate opposition although it’s worth noting Dawn Approach, runner-up to Black Heart Bart two starts ago, returned to win in Listed company beating home another Winterbottom placegetter in Shining Knight.
Obviously the Goodwood on Saturday will be a far greater challenge than those races however the ease of recent wins suggest Black Heart Bart has a bit in hand ahead of his toughest test to date.
The biggest weapon in the Perth sprinter’s arsenal is the ability to run dominant closing sectionals off the back of solid tempos. With good speed likely in the Goodwood, and in receipt of 3kg from better-credentialed rivals, Black Heart Bart should prove hard to hold out at the finish.