Ascot trainer Simon Miller will get a good gauge on his top three-year-olds when they step out at Bunbury’s stand-alone meeting on Saturday.
Valour Road, Lady Cosmology and Special Reward are coming off impressive juvenile seasons and loom as big players at the Ascot carnival.
Valour Road and Lady Cosmology, who finished one-two respectively in the Karrakatta Plate in April, kick-off their return in the Tabtouch 3YO Classic (1000m).
Valour Road beat home Lady Cosmology when second in a recent barrier trial, but carrying the 60kg top weight he concedes 5kg to his stable mate and has drawn awkwardly.
Jockey Aaron Mitchell, now based in Melbourne, reunites with Valour Road. The Frost Giant gelding has drawn barrier five in the field of seven starters.
Lady Cosmology, a winner of the Listed Supremacy Stakes (1000m) on debut, has drawn perfectly in barrier one. William Pike takes the mount.
Miller said because of the barrier draw he has a leaning to Lady Cosmology as the pick of his two runners.
“You probably have to because she has drawn a gate and is going to lob into the perfect position,” Miller told TABradio.
“I don’t know where Valour Road gets to and that is going to be dependent on tempo.
“I’ve given up on doing speed maps in this race and will leave it up to the hoops.
“Willie’s (Pike) ride is easy and he can make it up as he goes along.
“He will probably lead and see what happens out wide.
“It will be an intriguing race as they are both going good.”
Lady Cosmology ($3.80-$2.75) has been the big firmer with punters after markets opened on Thursday.
The daughter of Universal Ruler sits behind unbeaten gelding Black Sabbath ($2.20). Valour Road is at $4.20.
Miller is also buoyant about the chances of Special Reward and says he’s the horse to beat in the Amelia Park Handicap (1200m).
The Demerit gelding emerged as a genuine winter find for Miller after winning two of his three races at Belmont in his maiden campaign.
Special Reward holds $2.15 favouritism and looked sharp for his first-up race since June after cruising to an easy 950m trial win.
“He is a great chance and has improved from what was a really great prep last time in,” Miller said.
“Once he gets out to further he will be in his own element.
“He is a really good horse as well and can go deep over the summer carnival.
“I would like to think he can hit the ground running tomorrow (Saturday).