Brilliant four-year-old Alkira Jetstar is on target to become only the second mare to complete the Races For Roses-WASBA Breeders Stakes double when she contests the $35,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 1700m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The Race For Roses has been run 16 times and the only mare to have won the feature autumn double is Little Big Sister, who was driven to victory in both events by Colin Brown for trainer Greg Bond in 2010.
Alkira Jetstar, trained at Waterloo by Vanessa Brockman, will be driven by Morgan Woodley, who has high hopes of winning the Breeders Stakes for the second time. He was successful with I Am Special for Bickley trainer Peter Anderson in 2009.
Woodley was full of praise for Alkira Jetstar after driving her to an impressive all-the-way victory in the 2503m Race For Roses last Friday week, saying: “There are bigger things to come. She covers the ground exceptionally well and she is really heading in the right direction.”
Woodley is hoping for better luck than when he drove Alkira Jetstar’s full sister Alkira Jet for the Brockman family in the WASBA Breeders Stakes in 2008. Alkira Jet started from the outside of the front line (No. 9) and was restrained to last before sustaining a powerful four-wide burst from 11th at the bell to finish fifth behind Montel, an 8/1 chance who was driven by Brown to an all-the-way win from barrier five.
Brown has won the Breeders Stakes three times --- with Sand Pebbles (2004), Montel and Little Big Sister --- and he will drive Kamwood Laughter on Friday night, a talented New Zealand-bred mare who looms as the chief rival for Alkira Jetstar.
Alkira Jetstar possesses wonderful natural speed and she also is a tough and determined competitor who looks quite capable of overcoming the disadvantage of having to start from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line on Friday night. She is unbeaten over 1700m at Gloucester Park, having won there in June 2011 and two starts ago, on Thursday May 3.
She started out wide at barrier eight and raced three and four wide before winning at her first appearance over 1700m, rating 1.56.3. Two starts ago she started from the outside of the front line, raced three wide for the first lap and then in the breeze before taking the lead 320m from home and scoring by five lengths from Villa Couture at a 1.56.1 rate.
Kamwood Laughter was an odds-on favourite in a 2100m event for mares last Friday night. She began speedily from the No. 6 barrier and raced outside the pacemaker Never Waver Lombo for the first lap before the stewards stopped the race because Bollinger Baby had broken gear and was threatening danger to all horses and drivers.
Kamwood Laughter has been most impressive since arriving from New Zealand where she had 15 starts for three wins. She has raced eight times in WA for Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond for five wins, two close seconds and a third placing.
Chris Lewis will drive promising four-year-old Beautiful Night, who is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Lewis has won the WASBA Breeders Stakes a record four times, scoring with Tareena Bright (1985), Armbro Lucy (1993), Twinkle Paige (1997) and Meggie Dear (2001).
Beautiful Night, trained at Byford by Peter Tilbrook, ruined her chances in the Race For Roses by galloping at the start. She raced at the rear and finished eighth. However, her previous form in mobile events was most encouraging. Her previous seven starts in this campaign produced three wins, a second, two thirds and a fourth.