Adam Durrant has cautioned supporters not to write off the chances of resurgent galloper Tower Of Lonhro in the Hyperion Stakes (1600m) at Belmont on Saturday.
Durrant will take three runners into the Group 3 feature including Ranger and Respondent but it’s Tower Of Lonhro who will spearhead his stable attack.
Durrant believes a combination of weight, distance and depth of opposition will enable Tower Of Lonhro to pass his biggest test to date.
The former Sydney galloper, who is rapidly approaching half a million dollars in prize money, has been a surprise packet this campaign.
The six-year-old, who is chasing four consecutive victories, commenced his winning spree in April when he carried 59kg to win the Diggers’ Cup (1800m) at Ascot.
Last start he made light work of 61.5kg when he rallied from behind a small field of six to comfortably defeat stable mate, Gladstone (2100m), by one length.
Tower Of Lonhro, in the hands of top apprentice, Joe Azzopardi, who retains the ride, has drawn barrier eight. He is rated an $8 chance with the TAB
“At his last three runs he has been winning with big weights and in unsuitable distances,” said Durrant on TABradio.
“He is not a stayer with 2000 metres seeing him out; his record at the mile is very, very good.
“He is in the zone and his work suggests he has not gone backwards.
“He is definitely in career best form and they will have to be good on Saturday because he will be coming at them late.
“I don’t think it’s the best field that we have seen in this grade for a while.
“He is the one I am having my money on.”
In form jockey, Peter Hall, is confident Shining Knight, in a battle with Fuchsia Bandana for favouritism, can defy the doubters for the second time.
The Blackfriars gelding is on the hunt for consecutive feature wins after storming home to take out the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) on May 30.
It was Shining Knight’s first win beyond 1200m, but his new challenge is taking the next step to 1600m.
He had one crack at it previously and flopped when he finished second last to King Saul in the WA Guineas four years ago.
“I believe he will run out a strong mile and I don’t see why he won’t be there at the end,” said Hall.
“He is a big Blackfriars unit with a strong finish who is doing everything good.”
Shining Knight is rated a $3.60 chance to go back-to-back and give leading owners Bob and Sandra Peters their 26th stakes race of the season.
Fuchsia Bandana, placed third in the Roma Cup and Belmont Sprint, is the $3.40 market leader to break through.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli