The Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) takes top billing at Belmont on Saturday but a worthy undercard will be a hot edition of the Westspeed 3YO Handicap (1300m).
It’s attracted a cracking line up including outstanding last-start winners, Bourne Supremacy and Flying Roar as well as the return of talented gelding, Outlaw Pete.
The son of Oratorio, who heads TAB betting, resumes after finishing second to Liberty’s Gem in the Sir Ernest Lee Steere Classic (1400m) at Ascot last year.
A member of Trevor Andrews’ talent-laden team, Outlaw Pete holds $4.20 favouritism after rounding out his comeback with a 1000m trial win.
Red Ora seeks redemption after suffering a rare loss at Belmont two weeks ago, running 3 ¼ length fifth to boom sprinter, Sujet, over a 1000m scamper.
It was the Dan Morton-trained Due Sasso gelding’s first career defeat after notching five consecutive wins in a flawless maiden campaign last year.
In an open TAB market where seven of the eleven runners are under double figure odds, Red Ora is currently quoted $4.20 to bounce back.
Leonorasensation is next at $6.50, while Flying Roar, aiming for a hat trick, Bourne Supremacy and Furious Dame are $8 respectively.
Brett Pope will pin his faith with, Klondike, who missed the money for the first time in his short career when resuming two weeks ago.
The Discorsi gelding, who has racked up two wins and two placings from his five career starts, got held up when sixth to, Flying Roar.
“He wasn’t at his peak but it was a bloody good run and if he got room he would have attacked the line strong, but got held up a bit in the straight,” said Pope on TABradio.
“It’s a pretty strong line up he meets tomorrow (Saturday) but he will acquit himself well and be in the finish.
“He has come on well since the run and I think he will appreciate an extra 100 metres.”
Klondike, drawn in barrier eight for, Troy Turner, is $9 on the TAB. On his outside in gate nine is Outlaw Pete, to be ridden by, Paul Harvey.
Red Ora, carrying 59kg with the claim of Joran Turner, will jump from barrier three.
Klondike can be the portent of better things to come for Pope when Whataplan takes on the Pink Lady Luncheon July 4 Handicap (1300m) later in the program.
The son of Saxon holds appeal after a last start fourth to King Closet (1200m) at Belmont, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, but powering home late after a tardy beginning.
The five-year-old is $6 with the TAB, battling it out with Adam Durrant’s Helder The Painter, who heads a wide betting race at $5.
“He hit the line strong on a day when they weren’t running on from behind,” said Pope.
“I think he is up to them if he gets the right run, he has drawn awkwardly (13) but I will leave it up to Lucy (Warwick).
“I think he will be playing a big part in the finish.”
Pope also saddles Mantango and Quintessence and said the former was holding his form and the latter had pulled up well after chasing home the impressive, Tanjier, for second last week.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli