Western Australian Oaks winner Balmont Girl is set to show off her staying ability again in the Listed $100,000 Perth Ice Works W.A. St Leger (2100m) at Ascot on Saturday.
But even though Balmont Girl won the Group 3 $250,000 W.A. Oaks over 2400m at Ascot in March, trainer Paula Wagg still wants her to prove herself as a genuine stayer.
“We are going up in distance with older horses and there is always that query,” Wagg told the Sportsman.
“We don’t know whether she is a genuine stayer or whether she was just better than them at the time.”
“When she raced against the fillies it is obviously a lot weaker company. She still has to prove herself against this sort of horse over ground.”
Following her W.A. Oaks win Balmont Girl ran fourth to Respondent in the Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) at Ascot on April 12 before heading to the spelling paddock.
Balmont Girl kicked off the Festival Of Perth Racing Carnival at Ascot with a first up third to Fuchsia Bandana in the Group 3 $150,000 Northerly Stakes (1400m) on October 18 followed by a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Auto Classic – Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) on November 1.
Wagg then stepped Balmont Girl up to Group 1 company and the mare ran a mighty race when second to Elite Belle in the $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 22.
Then at her last start Balmont Girl had no luck from a wide barrier and Wagg is willing to forget her tenth behind the Chris Waller trained Moriarty in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) December 6.
“She had a wide barrier and stayed wide the whole race and she was pushed wide on the corner,” Wagg said.
“She pulled up okay and just had a bit of a puff and has recovered from it pretty well and she had a good gallop on Tuesday.”
Balmont Girl was also an acceptor in the Group 2 $250,000 LD Total – C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) but Wagg opted for the easier W.A. St Leger and the four year old mare is likely to have an easier run in the smaller field heading towards the Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day.
“She still needs to have a nice run, the last run she had was pretty hard on her,” Wagg said.
“The 1800m start is a bit tricky but at 2100m it gives you a bit more of an option of not worrying that much about being so forward, you can afford to relax more early.”
Also heading towards the Perth Cup are W.A. St Leger favourite Real Love, W.A.T.C. Derby winner Respondent and the Ben Pearce trained Vital Edition.
In the latest betting for the W.A. St Leger with Ladbrokes.com.au, Real Love is marked in the red at $1.70 ahead of Balmont Girl at $3 and Respondent at $6.50.
Vital Edition is listed as a $17 chance with Dabang at $26, Petite Mon at $34 and Devotto at $101.