Jockey Craig Staples insists Great Shot can defy the doubters for a second time with another upset victory in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Staples and Great Shot combined to cause a major boilover in the Group 1 Railway Stakes two weeks ago when they repelled the challenge from Black Heart Bart.
Aided by a 5 ½kg weight pull, Great Shot fought back strongly to score by a half-head, but with a return to weight-for-age conditions, Black Heart Bart is expected to turn the tables.
The Perth-owned star is a rock solid $2.90 favourite, firming from $3.30 with supporters after drawing barrier one on Tuesday. Victorian jockey Brad Rawiller retains the ride.
Great Shot, to jump from barrier 12, is an $18 chance. Staples said the Magnus gelding, trained by Rhys Radford, should not be underestimated.
“It will be interesting to see how he goes at weight-for-age against Black Heart Bart and the three-year-olds,” Staples said.
“But I understand this horse very well and know what he is capable of and I’m confident he will put in and be very competitive.
“He is in good shape, his work since the Railway Stakes has been good and what we would have expected.
“When he is fit and sound he is more than capable of beating any horse in any race in any conditions.
“He can carry weight well and if he gets a good run where he can bowl along then the rest will have to bring it to him.”
Victorian based jockey Michael Walker admits his confidence took a hit when former New Zealander All Our Roads, one of three runners for premier Sydney trainer, Chris Waller, drew barrier 14.
The gelding has yet to win in four starts for Waller, but was only 2 ½ lengths from Great Shot when midfield in the Railway after jumping from barrier 14 of 16.
Walker, who is chasing is first win at the elite level in Perth after previous scalps in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, says he will need to produce a special ride.
“I was hoping he would draw a barrier because I thought he was a top five chance,” Walker said.
“I think he can be competitive, but things need to go right in a race for him.
“It’s going to be tricky from the barrier and I’m going to have to pull out a phenomenal ride.”