Can lightning strike for the second time in a fortnight for Lunar Impact?
David Harrison is less confident than he was in the WA Oaks, but he doesn’t mind going into the Schweppes WA Derby on Saturday as the underdog once more.
Harrison only has to look back to Lunar Impact’s boil over WA Oaks victory at $51 to realise that upsets in racing can happen.
His pre-race tactics to turn the race into a staying contest panned out perfectly with Lunar Impact upsetting hot favourite Pure Devotion.
Sent forward to take up the lead at the 1300m, Lunar Impact kicked strongly in the straight after being seriously challenged by Temptacion.
Under jockey Jason Whiting, the Real Impact filly shook off Temptacion and then staved off the fast-finishing Pure Devotion who was coming hard late.
Lunar Impact not only scored her first win at her ninth start, but in the process denied the powerful ‘cerise and white’ army, headed by owner Bob Peters, his seventh straight WA Oaks.
But Peters, combined with trainers Grant and Alana Williams and jockey William Pike, hover large over the WA Derby and can exact revenge with Western Empire.
While Lunar Impact displayed her wares in the WA Oaks, earlier on the Ascot card Western Empire underlined his class by dismantling the boys in the Melvista Stakes (2400m).
After previous wins in the Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) and J.C Roberts Stakes (1800m), the Iffraaj gelding is all the rage with punters, holding market lead at $1.50.
Harrison is hoping Lunar Impact can buck the odds again.
“She has come on well since the WA Oaks, Harrison told The Races WA.
“But are the girls better than the boys? I don’t know.
“Can we also get away with the same tactics twice?
“They will be more aware second time around.
“I can tell you that it will be a truly run affair again.
“Western Empire is obviously going to be hard to beat, but I don’t mind Lunar Impact going in as the forgotten horse again.”
Lunar Impact will commence from barrier one and is $15 with Tabtouch.
Western Empire has drawn the outside gate in the field of 10 runners.
Meanwhile Harrison says Cryptic Love will have to be at her top to win the Marjorie Charleson Classic (1200m).
The My Admiration mare is rated a $15 hope behind Clairvoyance who dominates the betting at $1.60.
Further ahead to Sunday and the Pinjarra Cup (2300m), Harrison will saddle last-start Old Comrade Stakes (1600m) winner Media Baron.
The eight-horse line up is headed by top weight, Trap For Fools, who lumps 62kg for experienced rider, Brad Rawiller.
“I think Trap For Fools is the one to beat,” Harrison says.
“He is rock hard fit and well-conditioned.
“Media Baron jumps from 1600m to 2300m.
“He’s effectively in the race because there are not other suitable races for him.”
Media Baron carries 55.5kg for Kyra Yuill and jumps from gate seven.