Simon Miller is looking forward to the re-match between his filly, Regal Gleam and Fred Kersley’s unbeaten, Blackwood, in the Westspeed Plate (1400m) at Belmont on Saturday.
The stage is set for round two of their battle with Blackwood holding a narrow point’s advantage over Regal Gleam after winning their opening encounter at Ascot in April.
Making her race debut in the 1000m scamper, Blackwood caught the eye when she skipped clear to put a 1 ¾ length margin on Regal Gleam.
The Oakland Park graduate then followed up and enhanced her profile when she made the jump to 1400m to defeat You’re Rum’in comfortably.
Meanwhile Regal Gleam, beaten but not disgraced, boosted her reputation when she posted contrasting consecutive wins at Belmont.
In May she smashed through her maiden barrier after leading before backing up and showing her versatility when coming from behind.
Miller believes the opening event on the Belmont card is a race in two and will allow him to gauge Regal Gleam’s recent improvement.
“Blackwood definitely had us covered first start but Regal Gleam has definitely come on since then,” said Miller on TABradio.
“I know she has improved but it’s now a matter to see if there has also been improvement from Blackwood.
“Blackwood is a really good filly and this will give me a good gauge on how far Regal Gleam has come on.
“I’m really looking forward to it and in my opinion it definitely looks like coming down to a race in two.”
Blackwood, who has drawn seven of nine for Lucy Warwick, holds TAB favouritism at $1.90.
Regal Gleam, to be ridden by Peter Knuckey from the second widest gate, is rated $3.
Miller believes anticipated pace in the Happy 60th Birthday Judy Morris Handicap (1000m) will suit First Among Equals.
Madassa and Vonus should generate a genuine tempo with First Among Equals to take a spot from behind.
The Exceed And Excel gelding is racing in rare form this campaign, looking to stretch his unbeaten sequence to five.
The three-year-old, to carry 58.5 kg with the claim of Jordan Turner, shares favouritism with Malibu Style.
“With a good genuine tempo he will blend into the race nice,” said Miller.
“One thing he has been doing is carrying weight and beating good horses.
“He is on track to run a super race.
“I can’t fault him and he hasn’t gone backwards.
“He will be very hard to beat again.”
Liberty’s Gem is looking to get his Belmont Guineas (1600m) campaign back on track after his last-start failure to North Ridge.
The Statue Of Liberty gelding started a warm favourite with punters, but after leading weakened to fourth, beaten 3 ½ lengths.
Miller says there were genuine reasons for the loss and he expects Liberty’s Gem to improve in the Westspeed Handicap (1400m).
“He was scoped after the race and found to have mucus,” said Miller.
“He also had an ulcer on his soft palate and was slow to recover.
“He should turn it around and use it as a stepping stone to the Guineas.”
Liberty’s Gem holds the third line of betting behind Top Show and North Ridge.
Miller advises punters not to dismiss High Limit who resumes from a wide barrier in the Westspeed Nominations Close July 17 Handicap (1000m).
The Hussonet five-year-old, who races best when fresh, hasn’t missed the money in four first up attempts.
“I’m looking forward to watching him race because I think he can strike and is at big odds,” said Miller.
“I wouldn’t be leaving him out of your quaddie.”
Miller says Longma is in with genuine claims to upset Rebel King in the Tabtouch With Cash Handicap (1200m).
“He is a high quality horse who is down in the weight and ready to go,” said Miller.
“I can give him a big push because his work has been super.”