Diamond Poised To Be A Classic
Friday night's Group 2 Perth Plasterboard Centre Diamond Classic (2130m) for the three-year-old fillies shapes up as an intriguing edition of the feature.
Trainer Justin Prentice's WA Oaks winner Has No Fear headlines the 12 horse field, along with stablemate Majorpride.
Has No Fear has a significantly easier barrier in four for this week's event, but her stablemate may prove to be the hardest to beat from barrier one.
Jocelyn Young retains the drive on Has No Fear, while Gary Hall Jnr will team up with Majorpride.
Majorpride drew barrier one in a WA Oaks Prelude last month and was able to hold the front, before finishing third to Fake News.
Hall Jnr said Majorpride's last start second to Countess Grace suggested she could hold the front again on Friday.
"She went terrific last start in the breeze," Hall Jnr told GPTV.
"I think she's in the form that suggests from this draw she can win the race.
"We will be trying to make every post a winner from the draw and the way she's going I give her a big shot."
The Mike Reed-trained Countess Grace and the David Thompson-trained Mandy Joan took out the two heats of the Diamond on May 14 but had contrasting fortunes at the barrier draw.
Countess Grace will start from the outside of the front row in barrier nine, while Mandy Joan has drawn well in 12.
It was also quite the achievement from trainer Barry Howlett to qualify four fillies for the final, with All The Bells, Hello Hotshot, My Prayer and Millwood Gucci all doing enough in their heat runs.
La Roue De Lamour, Bettor Pack It, Better Than Mint and Soho Interceptor round out the field.
The ever consistent La Roue De Lamour may have been a touch disappointing on face value in her heat, but barrier two is sure to see her play a prominent part in the final.
Prior to her heat performance, the Annie Belton-trained filly had to be retired out of the WA Oaks in unfortunate circumstances.
The Bettors Delight filly was well respected in heading into the Oaks though, following meritorious displays in Oaks Preludes.
Belton said she was hopeful La Roue De Lamour had overcome issues stemming from her last start fifth to Mandy Joan.
"After the last run I was disappointed," Belton told GPTV.
"I got bloods done and she did have a virus and she'd carried it for a couple of weeks.
"I'm not saying Mandy Joan wasn't a good horse, but I would've expected her to go straight past her.
"When she (Mandy Joan) sprinted, we didn't so I knew there was something not quite right with her.
"Hopefully I've got on top of it and she goes into the race on Friday nearly 100 per cent."
Belton said she would leave it up to reinsman Kim Prentice as to whether La Roue De Lamour would try and cross Majorpride to lead the race.
There was a welcome boost for Belton earlier this week when she found out Lady De La Renta would remain in her care for at least another month.
The mare was set to head to America after her run in Friday night's Cubic Group Pace (2130m), but a change in plans to the transport arrangements has delayed her departure.
Lady De La Renta was at her brilliant best in winning last weekend and will need to call on all that class to win from barrier eight on Friday night.
Belton said it was a hard decision to sell the mare to America, but the offers became too great to pass up.
"Every day I look at her and wish I hadn't said yes," she said.
"I just love her.
"If she could win again for the Americans, I would be so delighted.
"It's not going to be easy...if she's driven the same as last week, who knows."
The Gary Hall Snr-trained Mister Bushido and Tact Major look set to be the major threats to Lady De La Renta, as do El Hombre and Chiaroscuro.