HELEN HARDING’S ‘DEEL’ TO WIN ESPERANCE CUP

25
Feb

Deel Red is racing at his peak and trainer Helen Harding hopes that form can translate to winning the Freight Lines Group Esperance Cup (2000m) on Sunday.

The son of Dundeel has struck a purple patch of form with three wins and a second from his past four races.

The five-year-old’s only loss in an otherwise flawless campaign came two starts back when he was beaten a half-length by Stairwaytothemoon.

“He is racing in career-best form,” Harding told The Races WA.

“It’s just been a matter of maturity being a Dundeel.

“He’s turned into a nice stayer now.

“I’m very happy with him and he has a perfect draw.

“My only concern is the weight; he’s not weighted to win.

“He carries half a kilo less than Gangbuster who won a Boulder Cup.”

Deel Red is on the 54kg minimum and has drawn barrier one.

Natasha Faithfull retains the ride aboard the on-pace runner.

Harding also saddle’s up Bentley’s Brother in a bid to win her first Esperance Cup.

Deep into a long campaign, the Oratorio gelding has finished top two in five of his past six races.

“He will be running on, but is at the end of a long campaign,” Harding said.

“He’s run some really good races and certainly hasn’t been disappointing.

“He’s in terrific shape, but I think Deel Red is the best of my chances.”

Harding fears Perth raider Touch Of Silver will be the hardest to beat in the Esperance Cup.

The Adam Durrant-trained gelding carries topweight of 59kg and will be ridden by Peter Hall.

The veteran rider has a great record in the race, having won it previously with Jeune’s Fantasy, Special Jester, Impact Rating and Striking Viking.

Push To Pass, trained by Ashley Maley, is looking to become the first horse since Special Jester (2005-06) to win the race in successive years.

Julio Santarelli