Black Fantasy warming towards Perth Cup 2024

After the heady Gold Rush Day with Damien Oliver’s astonishing end to his stellar career, focus in Perth turns towards the traditional New Year’s Day feature, the Group 2 Perth Cup.

The next of the lead-ups is set to be run at Ascot on Wednesday with the Listed ATA Stakes over 2200-metres providing the next steppingstone to the 2400-metre feature.

This is where training brothers Daniel and Ben Pearce could have Black Fantasy lining up as the five-year-old gelding aims to provide the pair with a career highlight less two weeks later.

Black Fantasy is on the third line of betting at $7 for the Perth Cup after a last start win in the Listed GA Towton Cup (2200m) where he held off late challengers to the line.

Black Fantasy, courtesy of his Towton Cup win goes up in the weights for Wednesday’s feature, so the back-up plan is a start in the Group 2 Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) where he is likely to carry less weight than the 57-kilo impost allotted for the midweek.

The tilt at Western Australia’s most race for stayers has nearly been a year in the making for Pearces.

Black Fantasy strung three wins together in succession in July 2022, including two at listed level, because the pause button came into play.

“He had a slight tendon strain,” Ben Pearce said.

“It was only mild so after he had the good prep as a three-year-old he spelled and then came back in January and trialled up super.

“He was the $2 favourite on the Saturday and pulled up lame on the Tuesday and we gave him a good working rehab prep so it didn’t take too long to get him back going.

“He’s returned really well.”

Getting back to the longer distances has suited the son of Victoria Derby-winning sire Blackfriars.

“The Perth Cup is a race I’ve always been keen to win,” Ben added.

“I love training the stayers and you don’t get an opportunity too often with them.

“With syndication now everyone wants early two-year-old running types so we’ve made an attempt every year to try and buy a couple of nice stayers.”

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Zoumon is the $4 favourite for the Perth Cup with the Grant and Alana Williams-trained Casino Seventeen at $4.50with online bookies after being outclassed in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m) on December 9.

The stable will make the decision on Tuesday afternoon over which of the staying events this week that Black Fantasy will start in.

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