Joe Miller doesn’t undersell how hard it’s going to be but he considers Drive West to be in better shape to win the Listed Boulder Cup (2100m) than 12-months ago.
The Perth trainer is back in the goldfields to have another crack at the Boulder Cup after last year’s plans with Drive West went awry when he finished 9th in the field of 11.
A long and sustained campaigned that stretched out to 15-months had taken its toll on the Blackfriars gelding who finished 8 ¾ lengths from Red Blast.
Miller has cut back on Drive West’s preparation this time in and with two wins and a second from his past three starts he is starting to hit his straps.
He won consecutive races over 2100m and 2000m respectively at Belmont before a fighting second to Western Blaze in the Coolgardie Cup (1760m).
Against his usual pattern of racing and not favoured by the distance and tempo of the race, Drive West stuck to his guns after settling forward.
“I didn’t think he would be that close to the lead but as the race panned out it was the spot to be,” said Miller.
“I think running second in the Coolgardie Cup was a pretty good effort and shows he is in better form than last year.
“Winning a race anywhere is never easy and requires a lot of luck but if the race is run to suit he will be in it.”
Miller said he can see Drive West landing forward again from gate 11 in the 12 horse field, but will leave it up to jockey, Lucas Camilleri, who retains the mount.
“I think going forward and being no worse than midfield could be the way to go,” said Miller.
“I don’t think in Kalgoorlie you can afford to be as far back in the pack.
“But it’s all up to Lucas to assess soon after the start.”
Miller has no doubt the powerful Adam Durrant stable poses the biggest stumbling block to his notching a second Boulder Cup win.
Durrant will saddle revitalised galloper Mystic Prince and Son Of Something who ran a brave fourth in the Coolgardie Cup after racing wide.
“They are the two horses to beat and will be tough to knock over,” said Miller.
“Son Of Something was very good in the Coolgardie Cup.”
Miller is chasing a Boulder Cup double, 17 years after winning his first with Mt Henry in 1998.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli