Trainer Dan Morton has warned punters not to underestimate Stafford’s Lad who is attempting to claim a second A.T.A. Stakes victory (2200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
A winner of the Boulder Cup (2100m) and Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m) double in the spring, Stafford’s Lad is looking to recapture that form after going winless in three races since at Ascot
The Demerit eight-year-old was well beaten in the Luckygray Stakes (1800m), AJ Scahill Cup (2100m) and Towton Cup (2200m), but Morton expects a bounce back performance.
Tabtouch has Stafford’s Lad at $20 for the A.T.A Stakes, the final lead-up race before the G2 Perth Cup (2400m) on January 1, in a market headed by Truly Inspired at $3.30.
Stafford’s Lad will jump from barrier one in the A.T.A. Stakes, a low draw that will boost his claims against a field of nine rivals, according to Morton.
Jockey Chris Parnham, who steered Stafford’s Lad in last year’s A.T.A.Stakes victory, is back on after Melbourne’s Jamie Kah partnered him last start in the Towton Cup.
Morton says Stafford’s Lad is capable of causing an upset.
“He just got into awkward positions in his last couple of runs,” Morton told The Races WA.
“From the draw he’s been forced to get a bit further back.
“If he can use his barrier position on the weekend he can be a bit further forward.
“I certainly haven’t lost any confidence in him and he will go in very fit.
“I expect him to go really well.”
Meanwhile at Ascot yesterday (Wednesday), Morton was rapt in the debut of Albright.
The half-sister to G1 champion Elite Street was doing his best work late when one length third to Boots Like Bruce in 1200m maiden.
“I was very pleased,” Morton said.
“A little bit green in the run, but he really attacked the line nicely.
“With a bit of luck there is plenty to work with there.”