Great Southern trainer Paul Hunter concedes the visiting raiders will be hard to toss in the Mungrup Stud Sprint (1300m) on Sunday, but he won’t rule out Le Sacre playing a part in the Mount Barker feature.
The Oratorio seven-year-old, one of two entrants for Hunter, will have to shake a local hoodoo and defy recent history with Perth based sprinters successfully taking out the past six editions of the $100,000 sprint.
Last-start Ascot winners Dawn Approach, prepared by in form trainer, Vaughn Sigley and Simon Miller’s Vengabus have commanded the attention of punters alongside three time Listed champion, Rebelson.
Dawn Approach has opened a $3.40 favourite with the Tab, Vengabus is on the second line of betting at $3.50 with Rebelson quoted a $3.80 chance. Kalahaar, at $7.50, is the only other runner under double figures.
But Hunter, who won the Mungrup Stud Sprint with My Leo in 2007, is certain that Le Sacre, a $17 chance, is racing in top form and peaking for his biggest test.
The son of Oratorio is chasing a winning hat trick after running on from last and defeating Monteverdi by a long-head over 1400m at Albany on January 8.
“He is going to be up against it against the Perth horses who are racing well,” said Hunter.
“But he is in top form and deserves to have a crack at it.
“He rarely runs a bad race and at his best he is capable.”
Hunter’s second hope in the race rests with Talk Of Angels who led before being overrun by Le Scare at his previous start.
“I’m not sure she is quite up to it,” said Hunter.
“I’m just having a throw at the stumps.
“Le Sacre clearly my best chance.”
Le Sacre, a get back horse, starts from an awkward draw in barrier one.
He is on the 54kg minimum for jockey, Pat Carbery, a 4kg drop on his previous victory.
Talk Of Angels, in the hands of Lucas Camilleri, carries the same weight from barrier seven.
Steve Wolfe, who is striving to become the most successful Mungrup Stud Sprint trainer, will pin his faith in top weight Kalahaar and Tiger Pete.
Tiger Pete’s recent form has been mixed but he did score a narrow victory when lumping 62kg at Mount Barker two starts back.
He followed that up with a seventh of eight to He Or She at Ascot but Wolfe cautions supporters to dismiss the run.
In a field of 11 Tiger Pete starts from barrier six and carries 54.5kg for new rider, Ryan Hill.
“I wouldn’t take any notice of his last run,” said Wolfe on TABradio.
“He was pushed forward in a 1500m instead of sitting back.
“I think he will run a nice race and drops markedly in weight.
“I think he would be the better of my two.”
Tiger Pete is rated $26 with the TAB.