Jockey Craig Staples is confident Great Shot can spoil the return of Galaxy Star and take out the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.

Great Shot will likely lead the Northerly Stakes and Staples believes if he is allowed to control the race, the Magnus six-year-old will prove hard to run down.

“He is flying and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Staples told Tabradio.

“He always puts a good showing in and if I get a nice comfortable lead I could sneak away and get it.”

Staples said Great Shot, a winner of the Railway Stakes (1600m) last year, had improved after fading to second behind unbeaten mare Enticing Star in the Listed Birthday Stales (1200m) at Belmont two weeks ago.

“He kicked really strongly and Enticing Star had to break 33sec. (final 600m) to beat me,” Staples said.

“He fought on strongly and was just unlucky the three-year-old (Enticing Star) had the light weight and sprinted really well.

“I couldn’t be happier with him and when he is right he can beat anything.”

Great Shot lumps 59.5kg and has drawn barrier four. The six-year-old is rated a $6.50 chance with the TAB. Galaxy Star holds $2.20 favouritism.

The Grant and Alana Williams-trained mare carries 53kg and will be ridden by William Pike.  In a field of nine she will jump from barrier three.

Staples said Galaxy Star, who has won eight of ten starts and races first-up since June, will need to be at her best to get over the top of Great Shot.

“I’m just hoping for a nice comfortable run and easy sectional because she  (Galaxy Star) will need to be running very fast to beat me,” Staples said.

“The 59.5kg does bring me back down to a bit of a slower sectional, but let’s hope she runs into some trouble.”

Julio Santarelli