Kingston Town Classic Preview

The Betfair WA analyst Terry Leighton gives his runner-by-runner preview of the final Group 1 for the Australian calendar year. Will Western Empire reign supreme?


The barrier gods have smiled on those hoping for a (highly unlikely) twist in the Kingston Town Tale, with Western Empire (barrier 9) drawing a little sticky. With on speed battler Too Close The Sun (10) the only runner drawn outside him, it’s a case of – find a spot, end up wide/forward or snag back to last. He wins if he finds a spot, he wins if snags back to last – and he probably wins if he sits deep/breeze the trip. So for the sake of the aesthetics of the race (and does anyone really want to see Bob win all three?), let’s hang our hat on that ‘probably’.

Trap For Fools (7) and Too Close The Sun will roll forward, with the Distinct Racing-owned pair no doubt having some idea pre-race of who will lead them up/breeze/park.

It was the perfect barrier draw for the Simon Miller-trained Dance Music (2), and in all fairness the stable was due a change of fortune with the gates (Valour Road has the widest alley again in the Scahill – cursed). The only three-year-old in a race traditionally dominated by the youngsters, Searchin Roc’s (3), is another big winner from the draw and should park right behind the speed with Dance Music. They do like holding her up for one run, but the temptation to utilise the 50 kegs and get rolling early will no doubt float into some pre-race conversations.

Danny Morton will be happy with the gate for Kissonallforcheeks (4) after a tough Winterbottom Stakes Day, while Notorious One (6) will be close to her back. Regal Power (8) is likely to settle last, which may shake things up in the favourite out market (especially with the Easterly in play).

All eyes will be on William Pike and Western Empire early. It’s very rare Pike ends up deep in a big race, but it can happen (2020 Perth Cup anyone?). Dance Music and Searchin Roc’s will be thinking leaders back and one-one (exactly where Pike would envisage landing) while Chris Parnham on Kissonallforcheeks won’t be moving over to allow his biggest rival a spot two back, one out. I’m almost managing to convince myself that he’ll get caught deep (may not matter), though the $200,000 cheque for second, may make his tow ball enticing …


Win market is priced to 99.09% | Place market priced to 298.11%

(1) Regal Power – While Grant & Alana Williams are getting the accolades for their efforts with Western Empire & Graceful Girl, it’s been just as impressive a feat to get this bloke off the canvas and back, somewhere near best form. A Derby, Railway & All Star Mile winner in consecutive campaigns, the 1800m @ WFA conditions is exactly where he wants to be at this stage of his career. Somewhat unorthodox entrance with the 1450m trial between the Railway & Kingston, but this combo are the masters of that. Will settle last but will be most peoples elect to get past all bar one of these.

My Win Price – $9
My Place Price – $1.58

(2) Trap For Fools – It feels like he’s retired more times than Johnny Farnham, but the old boy is back for another crack at the Kingston Town. Three searching trials in three consecutive weeks should have him fit enough, but surely those old legs aren’t holding on for a drum.

My Win Price – $151
My Place Price – $18

(3) Neufbosc – Improved effort in the Carbine Club, he’s following the same path to last year’s Perth Cup. Just a number here.

My Win Price – $1,001
My Place Price – $151

(4) Too Close The Sun – Much improved effort in the Railway Stakes, after being put through a Lindsey Smith ‘boot camp’ after a lacklustre start to his campaign. Will appreciate the Easterly forecast on the day. Far better chance if able to cross stablemate, Trap For Fools – interesting to see the early tactics – and find the fence in front.

My Win Price – $41
My Place Price – $4.90

(5) Platoon – Finished off really nicely in the Railway Stakes, but we know his level and it isn’t WFA. He’s at that awkward rating where he’s rated out of most handicaps, but a few lengths off them at WFA.

My Win Price – $501
My Place Price – $45

(6) Notorious One – The head on footage, alongside the vision of the final few hundred metres of the Railway make for intriguing viewing. Was travelling as well as anything on the bend, before being the only horse in Australia who could manage to get himself held up for the majority of the straight, with only one horse in front of him.

Shaun O’Donnell (riding a very difficult horse to navigate for the first time) looked to try and get to Kissonallforcheeks outside most of the straight, but with N1 laying in and Kiss ever so slightly drifting outwards, it meant he was never really tested until he ducked back inside with 40m to go. He hit the line better than all bar the Empire.

CJP has found a way to reason with his bloke, with the pairs only defeat (3 from 4) coming in a huge Farnley Stakes performance. Despite the weight swings being against him from the Railway, I expect him to beat home all those that he faced there, which leaves Regal Power & Searchin Roc’s in that battle for second and third. Could provide some place value.

My Win Price – $18
My Place Price – $2.55

(7) Western Empire – If he draws a gate, I probably mark him Winx-like odds, but the awkward draw does make it a tiny bit interesting. The fact he goes from getting in on the minimum in a handicap, to WFA level and the weight factor isn’t really considered by most pundits, tells a story on the dominance of that victory. He only gets beaten by the map and even then, he can probably overcome that obstacle if required.

My Win Price – $1.43
My Place Price – $1.02

(8) Dance Music – Big beneficiary of the WFA conditions (gets 4.5kg’s on Western Empire, 2.5kg Kissonallforcheeks, 3kg Too Close The Sun, 5kg Notorious One) and mapped to enjoy the softest of runs behind the speed. Just a query on the killer blow over the final 200m at this level.

My Win Price – $91
My Place Price – $11

(9) Kissonallforcheeks – While it’s hard to fault what she’s done this campaign, her two wins over Western Empire 12 months ago, almost seem somewhat surreal. Was given a 10/10 by Chris Parnham in the Railway Stakes, and while she doesn’t look like training off, there may be others with more upside to come in this.

My Win Price – $41
My Place Price – $4.90

(10) Searchin’ Roc’s – For a hoop who will rarely ride at 54kg’s, the effort to get down to the 50 kegs, gives you an indication of the opinion Kyra Yuill has of this filly. While Buzzoom didn’t come out to frank the form in the WA Guineas, it was hard not to be impressed with how well she responded after that filly loomed up to her in the Champion Fillies. I wouldn’t imagine the 1800m will be any sort of issue. This is a WFA race historically suited for those young horses and their big weight swings and she couldn’t have asked for a better alley.

My Win Price – $18
My Place Price – $2.55


1st – Western Empire
2nd – Regal Power
3rd – Notorious One
4th – Searchin’ Roc’s


BACK (PLACE) — Notorious One


Final field market for the Kingston Town Classic available soon.