Star Exhibit pressed his claims for the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) with an emphatic win in the Listed A.TA. Stakes (2200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Circling the field from last, Star Exhibit, ridden by Glenn Smith, swept down the outside of the track and defeated Respondent by 1 1/4 lengths.
Dark Musket ran a close third.
Tabtouch quickly reacted to Star Exhibit’s win, his seventh from 16 starts and first past 2100m. The Statue Of Liberty gelding firmed from $21 into $8.50 to sit on the fourth line of betting.
Star Exhibit gives co-trainers Jason Miller and Geoff Durrant along with owner, Bob Peters, a giant hand in the Perth Cup.
Miller and Durrant prepare current favourite, Kia Ora Koutou, who defeated Star Exhibit by 1 1/4 lengths when they last clashed in the Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy (2200m) at Ascot on December 10.
Peters main hope appears to rest with gun mare Perfect Reflection, the second favourite, who won the Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) in brilliant fashion after reeling in tear away leader, Fathoms Of Gold a week back.
Star Exhibit gave the Miller-Durrant partnership and jockey, Glenn Smith, early Christmas cheer after Pinzu stormed home powerfully in race three.
But Simon Miller stole the training honors courtesy of first starter Very Angry Gal who came with a well-timed run to kick off the meeting and consolidate Miller’s reputation as a master trainer of juveniles.
Atacama Sky, who raced on pace and Red Paddy, who finished full of running from the back of the field, completed a stellar day for the Aquanita horseman.
Underrated jockey, Aaron Mitchell, who partnered Atacama Sky and Red Paddy, rode a treble when combining with the Dan Morton-trained Macavity.