It’s been one of those carnivals for Ascot trainer Dan Morton.
To this point he’s been near big wins, but not quite close enough.
The trend started Saturday week ago when dreams of winning the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) with Alaskan God sadly went astray.
The star Perth three-year-old from last season started second favourite, but any hopes of victory were dashed when he ran 10th to Trix Of The Trade.
In somewhat of a surprise he was upstaged by his less celebrated stable mate Startrade, a former Geraldton galloper who continues to perform above expectations.
Morton’s angst only intensified and the heat soared when two of his star sprinters tackled last weekend’s G1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Classy mare, Kissonallforcheeks, returning from a Melbourne campaign, almost pinched the race before being overwhelmed by the incredible finishing burst of Paulele.
Sent out the second favourite, Elite Street ran his heart out for sixth, but a difficult passage parked wide wiping out winning the Winterbottom Stakes for a second time.
It’s not redemption for Morton on Saturday, but he is no orphan in wanting to take out the final G1 of the year, the Drummond Golf-Northerly Stakes (1800m).
Alaskan God and Startrade will have 14 other rivals to get over, headed by Cascadian from the Godolphin Blue Army and boom Perth filly, Amelia’s Jewel.
Morton says he hasn’t lost faith in Alaskan God and believes the Playing God four-year-old has the class to overcome his last-start failure.
“I haven’t lost faith in Alaskan God,” Morton told The Races WA.
“He went into the Railway second up over the mile.
“The race didn’t work for him and it was an ugly watch.
“It was a tough mile for him, but horses that have the capacity you see them come on.
“Horses that don’t have the capacity can fall apart.
“But I reckon he has come out of it very good and is one that has come on.
“And the 1600m is as short as he wants to go.
“Don’t get me wrong, I went into the race thinking his class would get him through, but it didn’t happen.
“I’m not confident he will win, I’m just happy with where he is at.
“I know he is the real deal and he’ll be amongst it.”
Chris Parnham will ride Alaskan God again and Chris Nicoll retains the mount on Startrade.
The Geraldton-owned galloper has been a genuine surprise packet since joining the Morton camp, earning placings in both the Asian Beau and Railway in his past two starts.
The six-year-old has recorded 12 wins from 34 starts, but remains without a victory beyond 1400m.
“He has not taken a backward step at all,” Morton said.
“He is just so tough and can absolutely run out 1800m.”
The Northerly Stakes barrier draw will be conducted this afternoon at 4:30pm.