Top fancy Balmont Girl is out of the Group 2 $250,000 LD Total – C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) and will run in the Listed $100,000 Perth Ice Works W.A. St Leger (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Perth trainer Paula Wagg has opted to send Balmont Girl around in the easier W.A St Leger as her final lead up run for the Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on New Year’s Day.
The W.A. St Leger for the three and four year olds has only attracted a small field of seven but will be a good Perth Cup guide with the early Cup favourite Real Love and the Grant Williams trained Respondent also warming up for the 2400m contest in a fortnight.
Balmont Girl has drawn barrier six in the small field with regular rider Shaun O’Donnell to ride again while Real Love has drawn gate three with William Pike back in the saddle.
Wagg has followed the lead of trainer Adam Durrant who also decided to run Real Love in the W.A. St Leger instead of the C.B. Cox Stakes and is trying to beat the handicapper before he releases the Perth Cup weights next week.
A win for either Balmont Girl or Real Love in the weight for age C.B. Cox Stakes would influence the handicapper to giving them a hefty weight in the Perth Cup but a win in the lesser rated W.A. St Leger would keep either mare’s weight down to a reasonable level.
“If she was to win the Cox Stakes she could jump too high on her ratings points,” Durrant told The West Australian in reference to Real Love.
“She could easily end up at the top of the cup weights.
“She will go into the St Leger and go from there.”
Resspondent, with Brad Parnham to ride from barrier one, is also on his way to the Perth Cup and will be better suited over the 2100m of the W.A. St Leger after finishing well down the track when thirteenth to Moriarty in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 6.
Balmont Girl is also coming out of the weight for age Kingston Town Classic and will also be better suited stepping up in distance and down in grade.
While Real Love has already showed her staying potential with a last start win in the Group 3 $100,000 Queen’s Cup over 2200m at Ascot on Kingston Town Classic Day.
Real Love is currently at the top of the market order for the Perth Cup at $2.50 with Balmont Girl the second pick at $5 while Respondent is marked at $14 alongside of C.B. Cox Stakes contestants Bass Strait and Red Blast.