Three-year-old colts and geldings continue their WA Derby campaigns this Saturday, with the running of the Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) at Ascot.
Until 2013, the race was run as the TJ Smith Trophy and has also been run over a range of distances and at different times of the year.
It was only in season 2007/2008 the race was moved to the start of the autumn carnival as a lead in to the WA Derby, prior to that it was run predominantly in December.
The change of date in season 2007/2008 tied in with the change in distance back to 1600m.
Prior to that, the race was run between 1800m and 2400m in the build up to the WA Derby when it was run on Boxing Day.
For the second year running, the Lex Piper Stakes is run one week after the Challenge Stakes (1500m) also for the three-year-olds, however no gallopers in this week’s feature ran in the Challenge Stakes last weekend.
Last year, Trevor Andrews’ Gangbuster ended a three-year dominance of Grant Williams-trained and Bob and Sandra Peters-owned gallopers.
Respondent (2014), Battle Hero (2015) and Heart Starter (2016) gave Williams his three winners in the race, the equal most wins by a trainer in the race, a feat he shares with Trevor Andrews who won the race in 1991, 2011 and 2017.
Troy Turner holds the record for the most wins in the race as a jockey, he has won it on five occasions, the first was in 1994 on Bronte Story and the most recent was Sireeze in 2013.
Daniel Staeck and William Pike have the opportunity this weekend to record their third win in the race, where Staeck is engaged to ride The Big Show, while Pike is on Action.
Respondent was the last horse to win the Lex Piper Stakes - WA Derby double, a feat which has been achieved by only two other horses; Herocity (1991) and Firing Range (1993).
Wide barriers haven’t necessarily been a hindrance in the Lex Piper Stakes, where seven of the 27 winners have come from double figure gates.
Barrier four is the most successful barrier in the race’s short history, producing seven winners, the most recent being Battle Hero in 2015.
2017 Fairetha Stakes winner Money Maher will have to set a weight-carrying record in the race this weekend with 56kg, the previous record was 55.5kg set by Scenic Shot in 2005.
A field of 10 will contest this weekend’s running of the $100,000 event, one of two Listed races on the program at Ascot.