Photo: AusHorse_TBA via Twitter.
The Western Australian Guineas will offer a chance for the Group 2 selection of horses to make their mark for the 2017-18 flat season. The site of the race Ascot Racecourse in Perth adds prestige to the contest, sharing a name with its famous namesake in England.
Variation won the contest last season and there are a number of strong competitors that will be vying for the crown this term. As a result, punters will be looking to track the best odds by comparing the value online with ChampionBets, with Mikimoto certainly worthy of attention for the meet.
The three-year-old won the opening race of her career with a strong performance at Bunbury. In a small field, the bay filly was able to rise to the top to deliver a convincing victory to claim her maiden placing in the winners’ circle. Mikimoto followed that outing with another winning display at Belmont. Grant Williams’ charge dominated the rest of the field to secure the victory by over two lengths, building off her initial success.
The stakes were raised at Amelia Park Lamb Handicap and William Pike in the saddle produced a solid ride to guide the bay filly to the win. The horse struggled to pull clear of the field through the early stages of the race and was in second place with 400m remaining in the meet.
However, Mikimoto made a strong surge down the final throes of the contest to secure her third win on the bounce. The three-year-old made her debut at Ascot with Pike once again in the saddle, with the horse being considered the leading contender for the victory.
However, on this occasion the bay filly got off to a poor start, dropping towards the back of the field through the first 400m. Mikimoto managed to gradually move her way through the field to close on to the heels of the leaders within sight of the finish line. She ended the race with a powerful drive for the line, beating out Medom by a length to notch her fourth victory on the bounce.
Williams’ charge has known nothing but success in her fledgling career, but will face a greater challenge at the meet at the end of November. Another horse trained by Williams could be on course to battle his stable-mate as Arcadia Prince is also poised to compete at Ascot.
The bay gelding has quality, although he has not quite enjoyed the unrelenting success of Mikimoto. Pike has manned the Australian horse for all five of its meets, with the three-year-old finding his form over the last two outings. Arcadia Prince had a slow start to his race at York in the WA Country Builders Maiden, but came through the field to win the event by a comfortable margin.
In his last outing at the Crown Bar Sports Plate at Ascot, the bay gelding was not on form through the opening two thirds of the race. Williams’ charge struggled at the back of the field in sixth place at the 800m-mark, but Pike rallied the horse for a strong finish to clinch the win by 0.2 lengths ahead of Necklet.
Williams’ charges could be set for an enticing duel at Ascot, with the winner perhaps earning the favour of their trainer for the rest of the 2017-18 flat season.