She carried underdog status when winning her past two listed races, but in-form mare Perfect Jewel has shored up strong punter support in her bid to claim a record equaling victory at Belmont on Saturday.
Perfect Jewel, trained by Adam Durrant, went virtually unnoticed in the Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Hyperion Stakes (1600m), sent out at double figures odds, but is favourite to win the Hahn Superdry Strickland Stakes (2000m).
Perfect Jewel won the Belmont Sprint-Hyperion Stakes double with an electrifying turn of foot from near last on rain affected ground, almost identical conditions that she will encounter in the Strickland Stakes.
Along with the Grant and Alana Williams-trained, Mississippi Delta, a last-start third in the Hyperion Stakes, Perfect Jewel, is one of two Strickland Stakes runners for leading owner-breeder, Bob Peters.
Perfect Jewel, who has drawn barrier eight in the nine-horse line-up for jockey Pat Carbery, is $3 with TABtouch. Mississippi Delta, with champion hoop William Pike in the saddle, will jump from barrier four.
January’s Perth Cup (2400m) winner is on the third line of betting at $3.40. Splitting Perfect Jewel and Mississippi Delta is The Velvet King ($3.20).
Peters said very little separated his two mares, but believes the track conditions were likely to boost Perfect Jewel’s claims.
“I don’t think there is a lot between the two of them,” Peters told Tabradio.
“I think the ground will help Perfect Jewel more because the way Mississippi Delta runs her races she likes to drop out the back and come home hard.
“It’s a bit harder to do that on wet tracks and I think it’s been affecting her ability to win over her last two or three races.
“The distance will suit Mississippi Delta, but I’m just a little bit concerned by the state of the track by that time.
“I would have to think Perfect Jewel, who we know can handle the going and possible could race a bit more forward would maybe have the edge in this race, but who knows.”
Aside from Perfect Jewel and Mississippi Delta, Peters’ Cerise and White colours will be carried by several prominent horses on the nine-race card.
Windstorm, Bright Diamond, Sublime Image, Sentimental Gift, Devoted Star, Dark Choice and Picture Perfect have top claims.
Peters said he was looking forward to the first-up run of Devoted Star in the Crown Perth Handicap (1000m).
Perfect Jewel can join Material Man (2018) as hat trick winners of the Belmont Sprint, Hyperion Stakes and Strickland Stakes in the same season.