Peter Knuckey’s successful week has continued this afternoon at Belmont Park, riding a treble.
After riding Come Play With Me to victory in the Listed Aquanita Stakes (2000m) on Saturday, Knuckey quickly got back to work today, taking out the TABtouch Plate (1400m) on the Dan Morton-trained The Real Sepoy.
In his first two career starts, the two-year-old had been well beaten on both occasions, and was at double figure odds to win today.
Knuckey was caught three-wide but did have cover for much of the trip, before he asked the colt to raise an effort on the turn for home.
It was a four way battle to the line, but it was The Real Sepoy who got his head down at the right time, holding off I Am Spartacus, Hyberspace and Convicted Man.
However, Knuckey almost missed the opportunity to ride the colt, with the 10.27am start to today’s meeting catching him off guard.
Luckily for Knuckey, the start of the meeting was delayed by 20 minutes, allowing him to get here on time.
“I thought I was supposed to be here at 10.30,” Knuckey said.
“Lucky the doctor had the same alarm as me.”
While Knuckey said it wasn’t ideal for the colt to be caught wide, he was impressed at his fighting ability.
“We were planning on going really forward, but then everyone had the same plan,” he said.
“We ended up three-deep with cover which was good enough.
“Dan’s really upped his work since last start, and when I got to the corner I put him to the test and he got there and kept fighting.”
The second leg of Knuckey’s treble came in the third event of the day, when he rode the Lou Luciani-trained Countess Natasha to victory.
The three-year-old filly broke through for her first win at her 13th career start, a career which has seen her placed on four previous occasions, as well as running in the Group 3 Sires Produce Stakes as a two-year-old.
The in-form hoop completed his successful day in the saddle when Chris Gangemi’s east coast import League Of Nations took out the Sterling Handicap (1000m) on his WA debut.
Meanwhile, Adam Durrant has established a near on unassailable lead in the Perth trainers premiership race, teaming up with leading jockey William Pike to take a stranglehold on the second half of the Belmont program.
The pair’s first winner of the afternoon came from three-year-old filly Raise A Smile in the Schweppes Handicap (1000m), as she recorded her second win from four starts.
Raise A Smile left her run until late, and had plenty of ground to make up over the closing stages, but eventually wore down Citichant.
Durrant said he was pleased with how tough the filly was late.
“To her credit she knuckled down really well,” he said.
“She’s a work in progress and she hasn’t quite reached her full potential just yet.”
Sense Of Power’s win in the Penfolds Handicap (1300m) couldn’t have been any more contrasting to Raise A Smile, as the mare led from start to finish.
Four-year-old mare True Delight made it two wins in a row to start her campaign, taking out the Devil’s Lair Handicap (1650m).
True Delight had to hold off a last ditch effort from race favourite Habeesha, who lunged at the mare but fell short by a nose.
The treble took Durrant’s lead over Grant and Alana Williams to five, with just five meetings left for the season.