What a difference 12-months can make.
This time last year Bob Peters and his powerful cerise and white army could do no wrong and were all conquering.
They dominated the Ascot carnival with an historical clean-sweep of WA’s three Group 1s.
Western Empire set the ball rolling by winning the Railway Stakes.
Graceful Girl finished ahead of stable mate Stageman in the Winterbottom Stakes.
The Kingston Town Classic was another one-two finish after Regal Power defeated Western Empire.
For good measure Peters also took the spoils in the G2 WA Guineas with Treasured Star and successfully dawned a new year when Midnight Blue won the Perth Cup.
Such has been his dominance on Perth’s feature races in recent times, it seems implausible that the Peters honour roll has not continued at the Pinnacles carnival.
The Railway Stakes and Winterbottom Stakes are done and dusted, Peters won’t replicate last year’s peak, but he still has one more shot of attaining G1 glory before the carnival is out.
Treasured Star will contest the $1.5 million Northerly Stakes (1800m), a race that Peters knows only too well having won it seven times previously.
His mighty list of champions were Old Nick (1998), Old Comrade (2000-01), Perfect Reflection (2015), Arcadia Queen (2015), Truly Great (2020) and Real Power (2021).
Champion jockey William Pike, who sat on Perfect Reflection and Arcadia Queen in the Northerly, assumes responsibilities again on Treasured Star this weekend.
The Toronado mare claimed the Asian Beau Stakes second up in October and was marching towards the Railway Stakes with confidence before copping a horror draw.
She ran a terrific sixth in the Railway without being fully wound up, but ran into a lot of backsides in the home straight after landing near the back of the field from gate 16.
But in a relief for Pike and Peters, ‘lady luck’ has been kind to them this time around.
In contrast to the Railway Stakes, Treasured Star can attain a top run from barrier five in the Northerly.
Pike says it gives him options.
“I’m pretty lucky that throughout most of the day I’ve drawn good barriers and it continues with Treasured Star,” Pike told The Races WA.
“With the one scratching (Last Of The Line) I come in one more which is nice.
“From barrier four I should be able to put her where I want her, according to the conditions of the day.
“I had a chequered run in the Railway and she could have run second.
“I don’t think I was going to beat Trix Of The Trade, but I still would have taken second.
“She’s ticking all the boxes, we’ve got the right barrier, the right distance and hopefully I can get the job done.”
Proven big-time performer Cascadian is favourite with Tabtouch. To be ridden ace jockey, James McDonald, the eight-year-old heads betting at $2.90.
Boom three-year filly Amelia’s Jewel, is second favourite at $3.40.
Treasured Star and Bustler are next best at $10.
Pike believes Amelia’s Jewel presents the biggest threat in the Northerly.
“Obviously Cascadian will be hard to hold off, but three-year-olds have a pretty formidable record in the race,” Pike said.
“You have to have a lot of respect for Amelia’s Jewel.
“I’m hoping we are good enough.”
Pike says he has a strong book of rides for the Northerly meeting, including Truly Inspired (R3), Category Three (R4), Real Danger (R5), Crescent City (R6), Real Grace (R7) and Burnya To Survive (R9).
Truly Inspired is hot favourite ($1.90) to make it three in a row in the Crown Perth Handicap (2100m).