Ben Pearce’s’ Raising Dubai and the Darren McAuliffe-trained Rebelson are set for stage three of their enthralling battle when they line up in the XXXX-Gold Northam Cup (1600m) on Sunday.
The score line between the pair is deadlocked at one win apiece after Raising Dubai took the honours two starts back before Rebelson bounced back at Belmont on October 10.
But a large stumbling block in their path is the imposing presence of Battle Hero, another member of the powerful Grant Williams-Bob Peters juggernaut.
The stratum gelding has returned to racing in a blaze of glory this campaign, notching back-to-back wins over 1200m and 1400m respectively at Belmont.
Battle Hero, who has drawn the second widest barrier in the field of eight, is all the rage with Tabtouch punters, currently quoted at $1.75.
The four-year-old will be in the hands of William Pike who is looking to extend his remarkable Northam Cup record to five straight wins.
The champion jockey’s dominant reign began aboard Moneghetti (20100) and continued with Ringmeister (2012), Angel Of Mercy (2013) and Son of Something (2014) who dead-heated alongside, Rebelson.
Raising Dubai, who gains a 1kg weight swing on Rebelson, will be ridden by Jerry Noske, a winner of the Kalgoorlie Cup several weeks back.
Pearce said Raising Dubai, who can push through $300,000 in prizemoney, had turned the corner since winning last year’s Toodyay Cup (1800m).
“He has been in great form and it’s not beyond him the way he is going,” he said on Tabradio.
“He has coming back in super form and since winning the Toodyay Cup he has turned the corner.
“You can never be too confident in these type of races but I’m confident he will run a real good race.
“That’s the good thing about him, you take him to the races and you know he is always going to be thereabouts.
“He is super honest and the type of horse you love having in your stables.”
Rebelson, to be ridden by apprentice Jordan Turner, holds narrow second favouritism. The Snippetson six-year-old is at $4.40 and Raising Dubai $4.60.
Turner will go head to head with his father, Troy, who picks up the mount on outsider, Jetting To London.
The Dennis Barker-trained mare won easily at Northam two starts back and is on the quick turnaround after running fourth to Alvares at Ascot on Wednesday.
Jetting To London is rated $51 to give Turner a Northam Cup hat trick after previous wins with Free At Last (2003) and Matriculate (1999).
Geraldton Cup hero, Ora Dare, makes his return after a seventh month spell. The Son of Oratorio tuned up with two trials including a 1450m win at Lark Hill.
“It will be too short for him but I’ve never had him in better nick,” said trainer, Adam Durrant.
“Look for him at his next start in the Ascot Gold Cup.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli