In-form trainer Wez Hunter is hoping that his luck continues with Bel Thor when the four year old steps up to the Group 3 $150,000 Snowhite Maintenance Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hunter had a phenomenon week over the Melbourne Cup Carnival winning two races plus a Group 1 second at Flemington from his small string of gallopers out of his Mornington stables and another win with Bel Thor would put the icing on the cake to coincide with the launching of his new website today.
Bel Thor is stepping up to Group 3 company after winning in restricted class over 2000m last Saturday and said that the gelding is fine to back up in a week.
“He’s perfect,” Hunter told Racing Network.
“I can’t fault him in any way, he’s fit and ready to go tomorrow.”
“I thought his form lines were very strong going into that race last week and he didn’t let us down, and I’d say the track at about dead 5/slow 6 tomorrow will be just right for him too.”
Hunter was the surprise pocket over Melbourne Cup week when he produced the under achieving Smokin’ Joey at $41 to win the Group 3 $200,000 TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
Then after claiming his second Flemington win for the week with Bel Thor, Hunter nearly pulled off the upset of the Carnival when the Smokin’ Joey was beaten a head by Sydney sensation Boban in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Bel Thor will find tomorrow’s opposition slightly harder than what he meet last week, but he showed at his previous start in open company that he can handle the class rise after finishing second to Hvasstan over 2040m at Moonee Valley.
The main contenders in the Eclipse Stakes will be the Gai Waterhouse trained Rain Drum and Tony McEvoy’s Sale Cup winner Mouro.
Waterhouse has taken the blinkers off Rain Drum after finishing fourth to Salon Soldier in the Listed $150,000 Visit Victoria Plate (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day hoping to get the six year old back to the form that saw him win the Group 2 $175,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Rain Drum has been marked the $2.35 favourite for the Eclipse Stakes with Bel Thor and Mouro sharing the second line of betting at $5 while Robert Hickmott’s import Hartani is at $9.50.
Hartani is having his first Australian start for Lloyd Williams but is a Group 3 winner in Ireland winning the €62,500 At The Races Curragh Cup (2800m) at the Curragh in July 2012.