Trainer Ben Pearce has been chasing the dream of winning the Perth Cup for two decades.
It’s been a driving ambition, prior to branching out solo and before forming a successful co-training partnership with his brother, Dan.
The seeds of Pearce’s Perth Cup vision was first sown when he worked with Geoff Durrant, father of Adam, a multiple Perth trainer’s champion.
Geoff Durrant had Give Me A Chance running in the 2002 edition of the Perth Cup when the gelding finished second to Cardinal Colours as an 8 to 1 chance.
Born in Bristol, England, Pearce has a wonderful opportunity of fulfilling his Perth Cup ambition on Sunday with emerging staying prospect, Queen Alina.
The lightly-raced daughter of Mahuta is building an impressive strike rate, winning four races and finishing no further back than fourth in eight races.
“When I was growing up and started in the industry I was working with the Durrant’s and I remember taking Give Me A Chance to the Perth Cup,” Pearce told The Races WA.
“He ran second and from there it’s always been a race that I wanted to win.
“I love training stayers and always thought I would love to win a Perth Cup.
“Starting off the new season we would love to pick off a main one.
“I’m excited to have my first Perth Cup starter and a good one too.”
Pearce said the Perth Cup became a reality for Queen Alina after validating her middle distance credentials earlier in December.
After winning a mile race at Belmont easily, she stormed home for second behind Coolth over 2100m before producing a similar run at the exact distance when winding up late.
Queen Alina enters the G2 Perth Cup as the most inexperienced runner, but Pearce says her class can help offset her lack of racing experience.
“She’s only lightly-raced, but I think these sort of races suit progressive horses on the way through,” Pearce said.
“We thought if she can run a trip with that turn of foot she is going to be a pretty handy horse.
“I give her a real chance of winning and think she is right in it.
“She’s always a horse we’ve had a high opinion of and rated.
“The Perth Cup suits progressive horses and her and Truly Inspired are the two.”
Queen Alina has drawn barrier 10 and will be handled for the first time by Shaun McGruddy.
“We’re happy with Shooter (McGruddy) and happy to have someone who is keen to rider her,” Pearce said.
“I don’t think there are many better on a big day.
“He’s a good big race rider and brings a lot of energy.
“He’s always up and about.”
Alaskan God is the current $3.80 Tabtouch favourite, ahead of Truly Inspired ($5.50) and Buster Bash ($7.50).
At $8, Queen Alina shares the next line with 2021 Perth Cup winner, Neufbosc.