The final Australian Group 1 race of the year takes place at Ascot on Saturday with the $1 million Kingston Town Classic (1800m) attracting a field of 16.
Perth’s leading jockey, William Pike, claimed victory in 2018 aboard Arcadia Queen and will aiming to go back-to-back this year as he guides the lightly-raced Tuscan Queen.
Trained by Grant and Alana Williams, the daughter of Fastnet Rock has won three from four starts and finished runner-up on the other occasion.
Pike jumps off Railway Stakes winner Regal Power to ride this filly, but I’m not sure how much to read into that.
Pike made the right call when opting to ride Regal Power instead of stablemate Tellem We’re Comin who was installed favourite for the Railway, and that was clearly a judgement call.
However, Regal Power must carry 58.5kg and Tuscan Queen has just 50kg on Saturday, and maybe the stable want to have the best possible lightweight rider aboard Tuscan Queen while Damien Oliver goes aboard Regal Power.
Regardless, the filly has a stack of upside and her sectionals and light weight point to her as the leading hope in Saturday’s event.
Last start, she won in 01:37.58 which was far slower than Regal Power winning the Railway in 01:35.92.
Tuscan Queen ran her final 600m, 400m and 200m in 34.76, 22.56 and 11.06, while Regal Power finished off in 34.34, 22.60 and 11.28.
It’s the superior final 200m sectional that has me leaning toward the filly, that looks perfectly suited stepping up in trip while also 5.5kg on her last start.
Pike is clearly the jockey to trust at Ascot, and after drawing gate 3, he should be giving the filly every chance.