Kalgoorlie-based horseman, Brett Mathews, is confident Western Blaze can set a weight carrying record to win the $70,000 Esperance Freight Lines-Esperance Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Western Blaze is the 61.5kg top weight and the biggest impost carried to win Esperance’s premier staying race since the metric system was introduced to racing in 1972 was 61kg by Impact Rating in 2009.
“In my mind only weight can beat him but I’m not too concerned to be honest,” Mathews said.
“I don’t think it’s an overly strong field and I’m more worried about Ultimate Success who will be the hardest to beat.”
The 35-year-old Mathews has been impressed by Ultimate Success, who has shown a real liking for the Esperance track in two runs back from a spell.
Prepared by top Kalgoorlie trainer, Peter Fernie, the son of Blackfriars charged home from near last to defeat Lookatim Go (1600m) by 1 ¼ lengths when first up in February.
The seven-year-old gelding then lumped 62kg and ran on solidly from the tail of the field when he finished two lengths adrift of Esperance Cup rival, Cut Snake (1950m).
Ultimate Success will carry 58.5kg in the Esperance Cup, a race that Fernie won three years ago with Defy Me. Jockey Ben Paterson will partner Ultimate Success from barrier eight.
Mathews, who successfully made the transition from jockey to trainer last year, said Western Blaze has room for improvement after an unlucky second at Ascot.
The Hard Spun gelding, at his second run this campaign, led for the majority of the 1500m race and gave plenty of fight, but was grabbed late by Terror Force.
“He was unlucky not to win the race,” Mathews said.
“He pulled up underdone so he should improve.
“This is the race I have set him for.”
Mathews said Western Blaze, to be ridden by Jerry Noske, would target the upcoming Pinjarra Cup and Bunbury Cup if he ran accordingly in the Esperance Cup.
The gelding gave Mathews a career highlight when he won last September’s Coolgardie Cup (1760m).
Noske can emulate her father and current trainer, Jeff, who rode Miller’s Fancy in the 2003 Esperance Cup.
Mathews, who was forced to give up riding after being diagnosed with Diabetes type1 last year, will also saddle Ignite The Sky.
The Husson Lightning gelding won four straight races at Esperance earlier in the season but has not tasted success beyond 1400m.
The four-year-old was tested over 1800m at Ascot on February 6 and led with 200m remaining before fading to sixth.
In a field of 14 starters, Ignite The Sky, has drawn the widest gate. Lisa Staples will take the ride.
Mathews said Ignite The Sky could overcome a distance query.
“I thought at his last start he stuck on well after doing all the work,” Mathews said.
‘I don’t think there is any problem running out the trip.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli