Pinjarra trainer Brett Pope will continue to raise the bar for Quintessence who tackles the Carbine Club of WA-Apprentices’ Cup (2200m) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The Shaft mare was winless from her first eight starts but has been revitalised since Pope stepped her up in distance, stringing together a winning hatrick.
She broke the shackles at Northam before gaining the upper hand and holding out Military Service and The Purple Parrot over 2100m at Belmont Park.
“I thought early on if we could win a maiden we would be doing well,” said Pope on Tabradio.
“But each time we pushed the button and stepped her over ground she has done it comfortably.
“I actually think there is further improvement left in her and she will be a lot fitter on Saturday.
“I think she will run a super race.”
Quintessence will pitch her credentials against ten rivals including Heart Show who has won three of his previous five and the inform Zarantz.
The Choisir gelding is in line for his third straight win and will command the attention of punters after an effortless Pinjarra performance.
The Lindsey Smith-trained galloper easily negotiated his step up to 2000m when he put 3 ½ lengths on runner-up, The Cat Rocks.
“That was a pretty impressive performance and he did it pretty comfortably,” said Pope.
“He probably didn’t have a lot of pressure put on him early and had it soft before kicking away.
“My mare had a little bit of pressure applied the other day and it was a learning curve for her.”
Boom apprentice Lucy Warwick, who rode Quintessence in two of her victories, has elected to take the Zarantz mount.
She pilots the four-year-old from the second widest gate in the field of 11.
Mitchell Pateman, who rides Quintessence for the first time, commences in gate nine.
Meanwhile Classique Ivory launches his Perth Cup campaign when he returns in the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m).
The Kalgoorlie and Bunbury Cup champion resumes for his first official appearance since the Pinjarra Cup in March.
“I am very happy with the horse and he has come back very good,” said trainer, Gino Poletti.
“I just want to see him hit the line hard and wherever he finishes I will be very happy.”
The $100,000 Farnley Stakes (1400m) has attracted a line-up of nine, headed by Rock Prince for the Chris Gangemi stable.
The former New South Wales galloper will take a power of beating if he can repeat his three previous wins.
Mad Brad was entered for the Farnley Stakes but trainer Ben Pearce elected to take on the Spring Racing Just Around The Corner Handicap (1400m).
“I was half tempted but the only thing that stopped me running was that Peter Hall wouldn’t have been able to ride him,” said Pearce.
“He has done such a good job with him and I didn’t want to break up a winning combination.”
Mad Brad has won his past three races impressively but Pearce believes there is room for further improvement.
“He has been heading into his races with niggling problems and this week I have been 100 per cent happy with him,” said Pearce.
“It’s a decent little field and it will be a test for him but I think it looks a nice race for him.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli