Top jockey Peter Hall, fresh from his Darwin Cup heroics with Ihtsahymn, is delighted to be back on home turf and riding at Belmont on Saturday.
Hall is eager to return with a bang when he reunites with another grey galloper, Vital Silver, in the $100,000 Jolly Beggar Stakes (1000m).
Hall has a perfect record on the seven-year-old after steering him to a breakout win in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) at Ascot last May.
Hall last rode in Perth in June before going to Darwin and winning the cup for a second straight year with Ihtsahymn on August 3.
Hall said picking up the Vital Silver mount was just the fillip he needed after a difficult few months in the Northern Territory.
“To be honest it has been a pretty tough time with all the quarantine issues we had to face,” Hall told The Races WA.
“It was mentally draining and I can understand why the Eagles had some problems when they went to Queensland earlier in the year.
“I think if you are one of the younger ones you can adjust, but the older players I can understand why they might have found it tough.
“It’s just the little things that you take for granted that you can’t do when you want to do them.
“That’s why picking up this ride is a boost, it’s come at just the right time and what I needed.
“I’m excited to get the call up.”
The Dan and Ben Pearce-trained Vital Silver races first-up in the Jolly Beggar Stakes, six months after his seventh to Loving Gaby in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
The Wanted gelding has been allocated the 62kg top weight and in a field of nine starters he has drawn barrier five.
“There is a lot of speed on his inside and outside,” Hall said.
“He is a good horse who is going forward to better races.
“I have a big opinion of him and think he is a class sprinter.
“I hope I can win on him like I did last year.”
Vital Silver, a winner of eight races from 19 starts and $762,400 in prizemoney, is the $3.30 second favourite with Tabtouch.
Money Matters for trainer Adam Durrant holds $2.40 favouritism.
Jericho Missile ($7) and Belter ($9.50) are the next runners in single figures.