David Harrison is about to embark on a European odyssey and would love nothing better than to grab some extra holiday cash at Belmont.
Harrison’s faith extends to Jest Envy Her as well as Pininci and Settle Strada who lock horns in the St Vincent De Paul Society Sprint (1000m).
A major stumbling block to Harrison’s pair is exciting three-year-old Rebel King who is due for a change of fortune after consecutive seconds.
The Universal Ruler gelding was held up before rattling home behind Sheidel and raced wide throughout when narrowly beaten by Dueton.
Rebel King, who has drawn barrier four for apprentice, Chloe Azzopardi, is all the rage with TAB punters, opening an even money favourite.
He is the clear standout with Pininci and Thateldo battling it out for second favouritism at $8 and last-start winner, Dueton, rated a $9 chance.
Settle Strada, who is a $15 outsider, has been a long time absentee from the winner’s circle since setting Belmont Park alight 637 days ago.
The Strada gelding enjoyed a stellar winter campaign, claiming four consecutive feature races, culminating with the Goodwood Sprint (1300m).
Harrison said there were positive signs to come out of Settle Strada’s return run last fortnight when he ran on for eighth behind Dueton.
The six-year-old attacked the line strongly to run the final 600 metres in 33.50sec., the second quickest behind Flying Time.
Harrison concedes Rebel King is the horse to beat but says Settle Strada is showing improvement and can’t be discounted.
“He had an operation on his vocal cords after his last preparation when he didn’t really come back,” said Harrison on TABradio.
“I didn’t think it would work because he was pretty bad in his breathing but he has gained a huge amount of confidence.
“Going on his last couple of gallops and his last run which I thought was excellent it might have worked.
“I’m thinking he might be on the way back.
“Obviously Rebel King will be hard to catch but don’t be surprised if Settle Strada is right there with him.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli