Western Australia’s premier owner-breeder Bob Peters has two livewire chances in Thursday’s feature race at Ascot to secure his fifth Perth Cup victory in 22 years.
Peters, who breeds and races gallopers in partnership with his wife Sandra, will saddle-up the two top fancies in the Ladbrokes markets for this summer’s $500,000 Group 2 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day 2015 in Real Love and Respondent.
Dominating betting is the ideally drawn and in-form Desert King mare Real Love at a firming $2.40, the Adam Durrant-trained four-year-old allocated the “perfect” barrier of five.
“That is a great draw for her,” Peters told Perth Racing.
The state’s number one jockey William Pike is in the saddle once again with Real Love looking to become the third mare from the past four editions of the Perth Cup to win along with Talent Show (2012) and Western Jewel (December 2011).
She comes off back-to-back wins at the track having taken out the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2200m) by a tidy two and a half lengths and then the Listed W.A. St. Leger (2100m) on December 20 defeating W.A. Oaks winner Balmont Girl by half a length.
Along with the barrier a drop back from 56kg that win to the 54kg minimum for the Perth Cup also works in the favourite’s advantage.
Respondent, who will don the blinkers in the Perth Cup, meanwhile is prepared by Grant Williams and has a bit more work to do on Thursday from his wider barrier 12 draw.
“I would have liked to have drawn closer with Respondent,” Peters said.
“He is going to have to go back from there and we were hoping to have him more forward than usual.
“We have put the blinkers on now so I hope he doesn’t race too strongly.”
Winner over the track and distance during the autumn when defeating Ihtsahymn (2nd) and Real Love (3rd) in the Group 2 W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) as a three-year-old, the Haradasun gelding was last seen running just over a half-length away third in the St. Leger.
That was an improved run after his below par Group 1 runs in the Railway Stakes for seventh and Kingston Town Classic when 13th, and one that gives Peters hope of a fifth win in the Perth Cup.
Peters bred and owned his first Perth Cup winner in 1993 with Field Officer before winning again with: Crown Prosecutor (2005), Lords Ransom (2010) and most recently Western Jewel (2011).