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Webster hopeful in cracker jack Belmont Sprint

3 minute read

Trainer Colin Webster is an unashamed admirer of Baby Paris, but is treading with caution ahead of her engagement in Saturday’s Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) at Belmont.

WESTERN EMPIRE. Picture: Western Racepix

Webster has no doubt Baby Paris can regain her winning mojo after the Sheila Gwynne Classic (1400m), but his biggest fear is the quality of opposition she'll meet in the Belmont Sprint.

The $200,000 Belmont Sprint is stacked with quality and boasts one Group 1 champion, five Group 2 winners, 11 Group 3 victors, 26 Listed winners and multiple black-type place getters.

Western Empire, who won the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) three years ago and is back in the care of training maestros, Grant and Alana Williams, headlines a stellar cast of sixteen entries.

The six-year-old was an imposing winner of last fortnight's Northam Stakes (1300m) and that performance belied and erased disappointing memories of a winless Melbourne campaign.

Simon Miller's star eight-year-old Valour Road grabbed his third Group 2 success last November when he outgunned Dom To Shoot in the Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot. 

"It's a cracker field, Webster said to The Races WA.

"It's a Railway Stakes field.

"At this time of the year you don't expect so many good horses.

"But, she's doing well and we're happy with the way she's working.

"She's doing everything right in the stable.

"But, it's a cracker jack field and you can't be overconfident."

A Kalgoorlie homebred, Baby Paris has won eight races and banked over half a million dollars in prizemoney from 17 career starts.

She created her own headlines last year by claiming dual Listed wins in the Birthday Stakes (1200m) and Jungle Dawn Classic (1400m).

First up this campaign Baby Paris continued her winning ways when adding the $100,000 Marjorie Charleson (1200m) to her racing cv.

The Playing God mare followed up in the Sheila Gwynne Classic and after covering ground and breezing outside the leader, she ran fourth.

Although Webster went into the seven-horse race with a degree of optimism, he wasn't totally displeased and said there was merit to the run.

"She had to do too much work," Webster said.

"But, what I was very pleased about with that run was she fought on really well, only about a half a length from the winner.

"She fought on well and it was one of her better runs, other than winning.

"When she's been beaten she has sort of dropped out, like in the Gold Rush (1400m).

"But she didn't in that (Sheila Gwynne) and fought on really well.

"I was happy with the way she galloped right to the line.

"It wasn't to be disgraced."

With Troy Turner aboard, Baby Paris jumps from barrier 12.

"If she jumps as well as she did before we'll definitely go forward with her," Webster said.

"She races a lot better going forward."

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