Chris Willis says Kerman Rock is good enough to win the Aquanita Stakes and says two key assets will aid the three-year-old at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Kerman Rock has had plenty of racing under his belt this preparation and after nine starts since March, Willis can cast aside fitness being of any concern.
And with most Aquanita rivals untested over the distance, Kerman Rock has shown he is comfortable covering ground after a third in the WA Derby (2400m).
Willis said Kerman Rock is rock-hard fit and will relish going from a mile to 2000m in the Aquanita Stakes.
“He’s very uncompetitive horse at track work so you have to race him,” Willis told The Races WA.
“He had three races early then I backed off and he has got better and better and this is his sort of distance range.
“In the Derby he was coming off 1800m and buttering up a week later into a 2400m and ran third.
“We’re happy with him and everything is pretty right.
“There are a couple of unknowns in it and we’ll see how we go.”
Willis says Kerman Rock’s last start second to Sheza Chalmer in the Belmont Guineas (1600m) will be a strong form reference in the Aquanita Stakes.
Kerman Rock had a good run behind the leaders, but lost some momentum when jockey Lucy Warwick had to angle of heels in the straight.
Sheza Chalmer had a full head of steam and finished powerfully from eighth position at the turn to defeat Kerman Rock by one length.
Sheza Chalmer is all the rage to win the Belmont Oaks on Saturday. She’s been installed the $2.15 favourite.
Crescent City, prepared by Grant and Alana Williams, has opened favourite for the Aquanita Stakes with Tabtouch installing him at $3.
Kerman Rock is on the next line and rated a $4.40 chance.
Willis said with luck Kerman Rock could have gone close to winning the Belmont Guineas.
“Our options that day were to sit behind the leaders or be one out, one back,” Willis said.
“She (Lucy) was of the opinion that if we were one out, one back and got going when she wanted to go, the other one (Sheza Chalmer) wouldn’t have got her and won the race.
“But that’s all hearsay and you get it every week.”
Kerman Rock has one win from 16 starts, but Willis says his form is better than what it reads on paper.
“He has been knocked off by some pretty decent horses.” Willis said.
“As a three-year-old coming through you are not going to win every race.”
Kerman Rock has drawn barrier six in the Aquanita. Lucy Warwick sticks with the Snippetson gelding.