It’s been a big week in Western Australian racing, nationally and internationally.
Joe Azzopardi kicked it off when he rode Sun Marshal to win the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) last Sunday.
That momentum carried into yesterday when two former Group 1 champions, one in the veteran class and the other, plagued by injury, score resounding wins.
Scales Of Justice smashed his rivals in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and Ihtsahymn surged home to take out the Metric Mile (1600m) in Darwin.
Ihtsahymn, a rising nine-year-old, who won the 2013 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m), has found a new lease of life since racing on the dirt.
Formerly with Fred Kersley and now under the care of Rob Gulberti, the Ihtiram gelding has gone two starts for two very impressive wins.
Last-start in Broome he made light work of his 66kg impost when first-up for seven months he came with a big finish to win over 1435m.
Ihtsahymn’s stunning win in Darwin has boosted his claims for the Great Northern Darwin Cup (2000m), to be staged on August 5.
Jockey Peter Hall, who has partnered Ihtsahymn to his past two successes, says the gelding is primed to claim another feature race.
“Obviously the first test was in Broome and he came through that with flying colours,” said Hall on Tabradio.
“We had a gut feel that he would race well in Darwin after that run.
“But to come out and do what he did yesterday (Saturday), he is only going to love the 2000 metres.
“He is absolutely thriving and it’s awesome that he came to us in great nick.
“He is loving life up here, he’s the best eater, cleaned up everything last night (Saturday) and is doing well.”
Scales Of Justice’s dominant win validates the faith and perseverance shown by trainer Lindsey Smith, who never lost belief in the 2016 Railway Stakes (1600m) hero.
Plagued by injury for the past two years and his career at the crossroads, the Not A Single Doubt gelding has been nursed back to full fitness.
Overcoming kissing spine, a back ailment and hoof issues, including navicular disease, a range of big race options have opened up for Scales Of Justice.
“We threw him out there to go in The Everest in case someone had a slot,” Smith said on Tabradio.
“Even at his best I’m not sure he could beat Enticing Star, but they get a lot of money for second and third.
“If it doesn’t come off he can go in the Memsie, but I will have a discussion with the boys who own him.
“We would like to win another Railway so there is also the option to go home.”