Celebrity Queen consolidated favouritism for the $100,000 Crown Perth Classic (1000m) at Ascot tomorrow (Saturday) after a foot issue ruled out Miss West Coast.
Part of owner Bob Peters’ powerful ‘cerise and white’ army and trained by Grant and Alana Williams, Celebrity Queen firmed from $2.25 into $1.80 after trainer Trevor Andrews scratched his top filly on Friday.
“She just got a pulse to the foot and is a little bit short in her action,” Andrews told Tabradio.
“She has got a bit of an abscess brewing and the last thing I want to be doing is taking her to the races if I’m not confident she is happy and confident.
“We’ve erred on the side of caution and hopefully get over it quickly.”
Andrews’ hopes in the 3YO Classic now rest with Divide The Sea, but he’s cautious.
The Moshe gelding won on debut last season and placed third in the Listed Perth Stakes (1100m) behind Beethoven.
Divide The Sea, drawn in barrier one for Brad Parnham, has not raced since the Karrakatta Plate (1200m) in April.
After a minor setback he warmed up for his return with two sets of trials at Geraldton and Belmont.
“He had a little bit of an issue with a foot abscess,” Andrews said.
“It’s slowed his preparation, so he is a little bit behind the eight ball.
‘I’m trying to play catch-up, but I feel he will improve a fair bit with this run under his belt.
“He is drawn to get the right run from the barrier.”
Divide The Sea is $15 with Tabtouch.
Punters believe Andrews can get the Ascot season off to a flyer with first starter Rapid Transit.
The four-year-old has been backed from $26 into $8.50 for the Westspeed Platinum Maiden (1100m).
Rapid Transit enters his debut on the back of a sound trial two weeks ago, racing greenly but finishing his 1000m heat strongly.
The Planet Five gelding will start from barrier six. Paul Harvey has the ride.
“He has always showed good ability,” Andrews said.
“He just lacks a bit of match practice.
“He won’t surprise me with a top three effort.”
Winifer caught the eye first up over 1300m and will appreciate a distance rise in the Tabtouch Better Your Bet Maiden (1600m).
“If there is good tempo up front she has trained on well since that first-up effort,” Andrews said.
“Hopefully she can finish as solidly as last-start.
“Her track work has been good, so no negatives.”
Winner holds second favouritism ($4.60) behind Sublime Image.
Andrews expects Ebony Magi to hold her form after winning first-up at Northam last month.
The son of Blackfriars has drawn pole position in the Amelia Park Handicap (1200m).
Brad Parnham has the ride.
“He is eligible for something easier, but from that gate he will get a few favours,” Andrews said.
“He will run some sort of race I think.”
Ebony Magi is rated a $15 chance.