Veteran Ascot horseman Colin Webster is shooting for the Perth Cup upset at his local track this Saturday with consistent four-year-old Properantes running in the Group 2 staying feature.
A capacity field will face off in this summer’s $500,000 Group 2 G1X.Com.Au Perth Cup (2400m) on January 2 with the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au firmly led by Grant Williams’ CB Cox Stakes winning mare Delicacy.
Four-year-old Delicacy however has to set a new weight carrying record to take out the classic with the 59kg top weight, Webster hoping that makes her a vulnerable favourite from the inside barrier.
His runner on Saturday is drawn ideally in barrier eight, coming into five if the emergencies fail to gain a run, which will keep Danehill Express four-year-old Properantes out of trouble as Webster looks to win the race he’s been attempting to take out for half a century.
“It has always been a dream of mine to win a Perth Cup,” Webster, 75, told The West Australian.
“I had a few real good chances, but we haven’t done it yet.”
Webster’s closest Perth Cup result was in 1999 when that year’s subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Rogan Josh ran second to King Of Saxony before his transfer to the late, great Cups King Bart Cummings.
He also ran third with Wolf City (1976) and Beau Heed (1997), and his WA Oaks champion Pop Culture ran fourth in her first Perth Cup back in 2013.
To date his 2016 hopeful Properantes has won six of his 14 starts including four from nine at Ascot, his latest being a victory over Bedamijo in a Benchmark 72+ over 2200m on December 12 carrying 57.5kg.
Last time out the Tara Itzstein-trained Bedamijo, also in the Perth Cup field on the weekend drawn in gate two for regular rider Shaun O’Donnell, turned the tables and won the Listed A.T.A Stakes (2200m) on December 23.
Properantes could only manage to run fifth, beaten three and a half lengths, in the same lead-up from barrier 11 of 16 with 55kg on his back after getting caught three deep throughout.
For the Perth Cup rematch Webster’s horse gets in on the 54kg minimum, as does Bedamijo, and Troy Turner retains the ride.
A $20,000 buy from the 2013 Perth yearling sale, Properantes has won over $317,000 in prize money to date but has had just the two runs over 2200m and none over the mile and a half leading into his Perth Cup test.
Despite closing in on 80-years-old, Webster isn’t the oldest Perth Cup trainer in this summer’s clash.
Fred Kersley, 76, has accepted for Ask Me Nicely (3) and the first emergency Operational (7); and Arthur Mortimer, 75, is hoping Kirov Boy (20) can run another good race after his third last January despite the outside alley this weekend.
The 2015 Perth Cup winner Real Love returns shooting for back-to-back wins for Lark Hill’s Adam Durrant, but faces a tough task from barrier 17 (into 13) with 57kg on her back.
Durrant also saddles-up last start ATA Stakes fourth placed Haradasun five-year-old Respondent (6) and $31 outsider Tower Of Lonhro (13).