Dion Luciani is confident Sliced Bread is in the mix to land Saturday’s Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) at Ascot and boost his WA Derby claims (2400m).
Sliced Bread burst into Derby reckoning with back-to-back wins at Bunbury and Ascot in January, but it was his previous run that sealed Luciani’s confidence.
Sliced Bread ran sixth in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1500m) on February 16, beaten 1 ¾ lengths, but with a trouble free run in the straight he could have finished even closer.
The Smug gelding attacked the line hard behind the Grant and Alana Williams-trained Creative Hero, Regal Power and Final Hearing, recording the fastest final 600m.
Adding additional lustre it was Sliced Bread’s first run after a month freshen-up and Luciani expects him to strip fitter and be further improved.
Luciani says he can see no reason why Sliced Bread can’t turn the tables on the Williams’ trio in the Lex Piper Stakes, who occupy three of the first four positions in TAB markets.
“He has come through the Challenge Stakes really good and I am happy with him,” Luciani told The Races WA.
“On the strength of that performance you have would have to suggest he is in the mix.
“He was a little soft when first-up and will be fitter and go close.
“Based on his last-start performance he is ready to perform.”
Sliced Bread has been strongly supported to notch his fourth win from eight starts in the Lex Piper Stakes.
He is currently quoted a $9 chance with Tabtouch, firming from $17 when markets opened today (Thursday).
He has drawn barrier one of nine with in-form jockey Daniel Staeck retaining the ride.
Staeck has won the race previously with Blueclase (2008) and Dexian (2002).
Regal Power holds $2.45 favouritism in the Lex Piper Stakes. Creative Hero is at $4.40 and Final Hearing is $7.50.
Bunbury-based galloper Lakeview And Star ($4.60) is the only other runner in single figures.