Co-trainer Dion Luciani believes Amelias Dancer’s preparation rivals last year as the Danzero gelding attempts to score consecutive wins in the Focus Minerals-Coolgardie Cup (1600m) on Sunday.
Amelias Dancer, to carry 55.5kg for jockey William Pike, tuned up for his Kalgoorlie assault with an eye-catching first-up run at Belmont Park last fortnight.
The seven-year-old, on a slow track rating, powered home from near last to finish seventh and three lengths from in-form sprinter When We Were Kings.
“It was a really good effort and he looks in top shape with a weight drop,” said Luciani.
“In last year’s lead in before the Coolgardie Cup he had 60kgs in a 74-plus race and won.
“First-up this campaign he carried 61.5kg in a 78-plus race.
“So he had more weight in a higher grade and I think this year’s Coolgardie Cup lacks depth.
“The wide gate (12) is a bit of a pain but it’s a compact field.
“If he gets any luck in running I’m confident he will give it a big shake.”
Trainer Stephen Rowe has Ascot summer carnival aspirations for Barnsley Lad who showed high promise when last in work with a hat trick of wins.
Jockey Jarrad Noske, who will partner Barnsley Lad for the first time, is confident his hard work to ride the five-year-old at 54.5kg, will be reap dividends.
Barnsley Lad, who will get a gun run from barrier four, should be ready to strike at his third run back over more ground.
First-up in the Bolton Sprint (1200m) he ran 10th before finishing seventh to When We Were Kings (1400m) after he raced wide throughout.
“I have been doing a lot of work with him since the run and he is going super well,” said Noske.
“I’m pretty confident about his chances and that’s why I’m going the extra mile.
“He will be in a lovely position throughout and I think Kalgoorlie will suit his pattern of racing.”
Former Victorian rider Jordan Mallyon is banking on the guile of trainer Dan Morton in turning around the fortunes of Blackfriars gelding Big Josh.
The six-year-old hasn’t produced in five starts back and last appeared when seventh of 10 to Full Steam Ahead (2000m) at Belmont on August 3.
“He’s had a short freshen-up and that is sometimes the spark required for stayers,” said Mallyon.
“He needs to pick up from last season’s form but he is giving me the feel that he can turn it around.
“Hopefully a month between runs and a change of routine will make the difference.
“And he does his best racing in Kalgoorlie.”
Big Josh, who will step from gate six, has won four of his six career races in Kalgoorlie.