Champion jockey William Pike is confident Dark Alert can validate his staying credentials when he tackles the RSL-Western Australia Cup (3200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Pike said his faith in Dark Alert was boosted after the Jason Miller and Geoff Durrant-trained gelding won the Pinjarra Cup (2300m) last-start in authoritative fashion.
“I wasn’t really convinced of him being a stayer until his Pinjarra Cup win,” Pike said on TABradio.
“I really can’t knock the win, it was a staying run race and he ran right through the line.
“He put me back in my place and I’m on his bandwagon now.
“Until that last start off a genuine run race I wasn’t convinced he could stay.
“But the way he went through the line I’m very excited to see what he can do over 3200m.”
Dark Alert won the Pinjarra Cup by 2 ¾ lengths in race record time, running on from third position to defeat My Magic Miss and Sunset Superman.
The five-year-old has won eight races and been placed on six occasions from 23 starts, amassing almost half a million dollars in prize money and bonuses.
Dark Alert carries 57kg and in a field of nine starters he has drawn barrier seven. The son of Testa Rossa is a short $1.45 favourite with TABtouch.
Dark Alert, Danes Maree, Elegant Blast, Geiger Gem, Brackets, Bollywood Blitz, Terror Force and Profit Street complete a strong book of mounts for Pike.
Danes Maree meets a field of four in the TABtouch Plate for two-year-olds and rates highly after a ¾ length second to Resistance when on debut a fortnight back.
“She went very good and gave me a nice feel,” Pike said.
“She was very professional and I expect her to run well again.”
Bollywood Blitz is capable of bouncing back on the seven day turnaround after a 1 ¾ length seventh to Settlers Creek over 1400m.
It was a rare miss from the consistent gelding who resumed first-up two weeks ago with a barnstorming victory from midfield.
The Natural Blitz five-year-old, who jumps from barrier four, holds TAB favouritism in the Yellowglen Handicap (1600m).
“I think his second race was a little bit stronger and as good a run as his win,” Pike said.
“I was very surprised he was so short when he was up in grade.
“He is an honest horse who should run an honest race again.”
Profit Street launches his 2017 return after displaying positive signs last year for Bunbury co-trainers Peter and Matthew Giadresco.
After two warm up trials the son of Viscount resumes in the D’Orsogna Italian Raceday-20 May Handicap (1200m).
“His last trial may have looked plain, but I wasn’t too concerned.
“I know the horse has an engine and has shown it in the past.
“He should be fit after a couple of trials and run very well.”
Pike believes Elegant Blast needs to live up to her potential and that Brackets can run a bolter, but is hard to catch.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli