A wet weekend is forecast for Perth but it won’t dampen the mood of trainer Trevor Andrews who will unleash champion galloper Luckygray in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m).
Andrews has marked Belmont’s premier winter sprint as the starting point for Luckygray who has not raced since finishing a close fourth to Magnifisio in last year’s Roma Cup.
Luckygray was forced to miss the Ascot carnival and a chance of adding a third Group 1 triumph in the Railway Stakes (1600m) after injuring his off-hind and nearside foreleg.
Andrews said the Bradbury’s Luck gelding, who warmed up for his return with two trial hit outs, was primed to make a successful return to racing.
“He has been back in work since January so he has had four months’ work under his belt,” said Andrews on Tabradio.
“I normally give my horses 12 weeks leading into a race but I really wanted to give him a solid foundation.
“He’s had a couple of good trials including Monday which is not my normal thing to do before a Saturday.
“He has come through it really really well and despite lacking race hardness I couldn’t be happier with him.
“I think he is pretty well ready to go and I couldn’t have him any better without having a run under his belt.”
Luckygray, who has drawn barrier two for jockey, Shaun O’Donnell, has opened a firm $3 favourite with Tabtouch.
At $4.20 and shading Shining Knight for second favouritism is Darren McAuliffe’s smart mare, Fuchsia Bandana.
The four-year-old races first-up since her gallant fifth to Moriarty, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Fuchsia Bandana has drawn perfectly in gate one but will have to break a hoodoo as no horse has won from that position in the past 30 editions of the Roma Cup.
Shining Knight, from the in-form Grant Williams team, backs up after a fast-finishing second to Dawn Approach in the Listed Northam Stakes (1100m).
Williams is searching for his maiden Roma Cup success after runner-up placings in the past two years with Elite Belle and Ranger.
Shining Knight, a Blackfriars gelding, combines with dual Group 1 champion hoop, Peter Hall, from barrier seven.
Dawn Approach, quoted at $6.50 and Rock Magic $8.50, are the only other runners under double figure odds.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli