Black Heart Bart may have narrowly been denied the fairy tale home-coming in Perth over the weekend, but Darren Weir’s brave Railway Stakes runner-up to local winner Great Shot is still tipped to win Saturday week’s Group 1 $1 million Magic Millions Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Still raced by W.A. connections but based in Victoria with record-breaking horseman Weir, Perth expat Black Heart Bart returned to Ascot Racecourse for the first time in two years over the weekend.
The five-time Group 1 champion had been freshened-up since hoof issues saw him run unplaced in the Group 1 $750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1.
Ridden by regular hoop Brad Rawiller, Black Heart Bart carried the 59kg top weight in last Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m).
After racing three wide but with cover throughout, the Blackfriars seven-year-old loomed in the final furlong bringing the crowd to their feet.
The hefty weight however saw Black Heart Bart just fail to reel in the Rhys Radford-trained local hope Great Shot who went on to lead all-the-way and salute at a blowout price of 30/1.
Great Shot held off last year’s Railway Stakes winner Scales Of Justice for the early lead and was ultra-impressive holding off the challengers from the eastern state over the closing 200m.
Ridden to victory by Craig Staples on 53.5kg, Great Shot improved on his lead-up second in the Group 2 $250,000 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at the track from November 11.
Following home the second-placed Black Heart Bart was the Chris Waller-trained $5 favourite from Sydney, Tom Melbourne, who added to his ever growing and frustrating record of Group 1 placings.
Great Shot could now return to Ascot on December 9 looking to continue his ace run of form in the Kingston Town Classic over 200m further at weight-for-age.
The Railway Stakes winner though is only rated a $26 chance in the all-in Kingston Town Classic betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to do the double last completed by Sniper’s Bullet (2009).
Black Heart Bart is tipped as the one to beat over his pet distance in the Kingston Town Classic sitting top of the futures odds at $4 and Rawiller will again be aboard the now $3.9 million earner.
“The horse gave everything in the closing stages and he was still giving right up until the post,” Rawiller told the Sydney Morning Herald speaking of Black Heart Bart’s Railway Stakes performance.
Weir is confident Black Heart Bart has returned to his best and can improve notably on his ninth place finish in the 2015 Kingston Town Classic before the horse headed to his now eastern state home.
Weir won last year’s Kingston Town Classic with Stratum Star and is out to go back-to-back as a trainer in the race for the first time since Neville Parnham with Playing God (2010-11).
Top five in 2017 Kingston Town Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Black Heart Bart, $5.50 It’s Somewhat, $7.50 Tom Melbourne, $10 Perfect Jewel, $11 Debellatio.