Yet to secure a victory in the $1 million Perth Group 1, veteran jockey Peter Hall is confident his difficult task of cutting down to 53kgs will pay dividends on Saturday when taking the ride on Chester Road in the 2014 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot Racecourse this weekend.
Securing a commendable race record of eight wins and a further seven minor places from just 21 competitive starts so far, Chester Road’s chances of success in the Railway Stakes took a reasonable hit on Tuesday when allocated the wide and awkward barrier 17.
Remaining confident of his chances in the feature race at Ascot, Hall told the West Australian he does not often chase rides with such a low weight, but believes the seven-year-old is capable of a maiden victory at the highest level of racing in what will be his first appearance on course in nearly two years.
“Every now and again I have a crack at it,” Hall said of his extreme weight loss.
“It is the best my body has felt since I had that fall. I feel I am ready to really hit my straps.
“I have been riding at 55kg and feeling really good. It is just the one race, it’s a big day.
“I am riding for the leading stable so I have to have a go.
“I’ll be pretty well sweet after the races at Northam tomorrow.”
A standout performer for trainer Adam Durrant since first debuting to racing in 2011, Chester Road arguably hit career-best form over the 2012 Perth racing calendar; running fourth amongst classy competition in a minor over 1400m first-up in February and continuing to build towards back-to-back victories in staying events and a close second to Mr Moet in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) on July 7th.
Returning in summer in similarly strong form, the Tiger Hill gelding won the Listed W.A. Stakes (1400m) first-up, and while luckless when eighth in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m), responded well in finishing second in the Group 2 Cox Stakes (2100m) most recently on December 22nd.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2014 Railway Stakes odds, for which Chester Road has cut in from an opening quote of $51 to register as clear market mover at $34 odds for success.
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