Dan Morton says Kissonallforcheeks faces more than one rival

Dan Morton won’t concede Saturday’s Crown Sports Bar Handicap (1400m) at Ascot is a race in two between his mare Kissonallforcheeks and the Michael Grantham-trained Kaptain Kaos.

The duo are currently locked in a tight battle for Tabtouch favouritism with Kissonallforcheeks maintaining narrow market lead at $2.70 and Kaptain Kaos rated a $2.90 hope.

Karijini Aurora, chasing a hat trick of wins for trainer Summer Dickson, is next at $5.50 and the only other runner in the nine horse field that is also in single figure odds.

On a path towards the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in November, Kissonallforcheeks is racing second up after going down to All Day Session by a nose with 59kg.

The daughter of Written Tycoon was coming off a stellar three-year-old season that hit its peak with Listed victories in the Lee Steere Classic (1400m) and Breeders Classic (1400m).

Kaptain Kaos has flourished under young trainer Michael Grantham, winning six races, including the past three in succession, and placing third from seven starts since March.

“I think this field has some depth to it,” Morton told The Races WA.

“Kaptain Kaos is going really well and is a progressive horse, but by no means do I think it’s a race in two.

“Marocchino’s trial might not have looked that good, but you have to respect a talented stayer resuming first-up over 1400m.

“Karijini Aurora is another progressive horse that is going well now.

“I think it’s a line up with a bit of quality to it.”

Morton said Kissonallforcheeks will strip fitter after her narrow loss first-up.

“I was happy with the effort and thought she was good,” Morton said.

“Another centimetre she wins and we would have been over the moon.

“She was beaten by the bare minimum and went into it without a trial and six months between runs.”

Clint Johnston-Porter reunites with Kissonallforcheeks after partnering her on debut in the Crystal Slipper Stakes (1100m) two years ago.

He replaces Chris Parnham who has elected to stick with Kaptain Kaos.

“I was a little surprised Chris (Parnham) went that way,” Morton said.

“But that type of thing is going to happen at this time of the year.”

Dan Morton says Kissonallforcheeks barrier draw, the second widest gate, is not what he wanted.

“It’s not ideal,” Morton said.

“But in a small field Clint (Johnston-Porter) should be able to get a look.”

Meanwhile Morton says Elite Street would commence his Winterbottom Stakes defense in the Crawford Stakes (1000m) on October 16.

Fresh from his buck jumping display in Kalgoorlie, Tellem We’re Comin trials on Monday before the Northam Cup on October 24.

And Stafford’s Lad, fresh from a second in the Kalgoorlie Cup (2200m), is in the paddock before being brought back for a Perth Cup campaign.

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