An untimely setback for Hot Goods has opened the door ajar for Spirit Bird in the Westspeed Plate (1000m) at Belmont on Saturday.
Hot Goods was the rock solid favourite with punters but has been withdrawn by trainer Justin Warwick after pulling up lame.
It’s a mini blow for the Time Thief filly who was highly rated after cruising to an impressive maiden win when on debut at Pinjarra.
Spirit Bird, prepared by Nick Cox, also caught the eye when she stepped out for her first appearance at Belmont last fortnight.
In driving rain and windy conditions the Savabeel mare sat back before powering home to finish second and a length from Chillie Storm.
Cox, who has a high opinion of his juvenile, said Spirit Bird had come through the run well and expected her to improve.
“I didn’t think the wet track suited her and she is much better on a firmer surface which she will get on Saturday,” said Cox on TABradio.
“She has come through it good and will run well.
“I think she is pretty good this filly.”
Spirit Bird, to be ridden by Shaun O’Donnell, is the clear $2.40 TAB favourite.
Hidden Grace, a last-start winner at Northam, is the second elect at $5.50.
Snack Pak, runner up to Hot Goods at Pinjarra, is rated a $6 chance.
Bradford Badboy can help ease the disappointment of Hot Goods’ scratching for Warwick when he tackles the Tabtouch Handicap (1600m).
The Trade Fair gelding has big claims after running on from 16th on the corner to run a close third behind The Dankster (1300m) two weeks back.
Bradford Badboy, in his first preparation for Warwick, has never been out of the money at Belmont with two wins and three placings from five starts.
Adam Durrant’s Bonny Zara appears to pose the biggest threat and is sure to improve on her eye-catching third to Dark Alert when first-up on May 9.
The Saxon four-year-old is $2.50 with the TAB, shading Bradford Badboy for favouritism who is quoted at $3.
“It looks a two horse race on paper and Bonny Zara may have the wood on us but we will find out on Saturday,” said Warwick.
“But he is the kind of horse who is going to win a few on a Saturday without too many worries I would say.”
Warwick is confident Wink And A Nod will return a winner in the Get Your Westspeed Forms In Now Handicap (1200m).
The McFlirt mare hasn’t raced since a second placing to boom sprinter Sheidel in the Kalatiara Classic (1200m) in March.
The five-year-old, who has won two races from three first-up attempts, has drawn barrier two for Lucy Warwick.
“She races well fresh and is the kind of horse I really like,” said Warwick.
“She never runs a bad race and looks like she is going to get a good run.
“She will lob in the first three or four without any worry.
“You would think she will be hard to beat.”
Wink And A Nod, who opened at $5.50, has firmed into $4.60 favouritism.
Brother Patrick has won three of his past four but faces his stiffest test in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m).
“He definitely isn’t the best horse in the race but has fitness on his side,” said Warwick.
“He won’t disgrace himself and I think he can earn the owners some money.”
Warwick believes Satan Dancer may find the 1400m of the Tabtouch.com.au Handicap a little slick at this stage of her preparation.
RWWA; Julio Santarelli