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The bet365 Best From The West - 18th May, 2024

3 minute read

Racing returns to Belmont for their season opener, with the Group 3 Belmont Sprint the feature

Best from the West
Best from the West Picture: RacingandSports


The Belmont season kicks off on Saturday, with the running of the Belmont Sprint at Group 3 level the main attraction, though there is plenty of meat on the bones, particularly through the quaddie legs.


The Belmont Sprint revolves around the early favourite Western Empire, who - by Racing and Sports measure - is back to his best form just two runs back with Team Williams.

It's a phenomenal training performance by the training partnership, with his 114 Racing and Sports rating the second best run of his career, and the best since his G1 Railway Stakes win in 2021.

The sectional data backed up what the eyes saw there, with Western Empire blowing away his opponents with a stack of late strength, which is ominous for his rivals come Saturday.

While the son of Iffraaj will have to overcome a sticky barrier and will most likely need some luck in running, his ratings and current trajectory appear to have him a cut above the rivals he faces on Saturday.

Among those rivals is stablemate Alsephina, who resumes after a gallant effort in the Northerly Stakes to end last campaign.

She was only one length behind Bustler in the G1 Railway Stakes when favourite, and will be fitter for two trials coming into this event.


WESTERN EMPIRE winning the Heineken 3-Railway Stakes
WESTERN EMPIRE winning the Heineken 3-Railway Stakes Picture: Western Racepix


Heading to Race 2 on the card for my best bet of the afternoon, which comes in the way of the Darren McAullife-trained CHOLLIMA.

The three-year-old filly will have to carry top-weight against her rivals, though it's the upside the daughter of Starspangledbanner possesses which is most interesting.

Having won 3/3 first-up in her career, the filly is yet to break through second-up. Although that reads poorly, there have been reasons for those efforts.

Her second-up run in the spring last season was in Listed company in the Burgess Queen Stakes, where she jumped in the market against some highly-touted 3YO fillies.

She returned in fine form at Ascot last time out, and the sectionals underlying that win suggest there is more to come. There's no Keshi Boom's or Super Smink's in the field she faces on Saturday, and with improvement likely second-up she can be winning race 2.


Speaking of KESHI BOOM, she returns in the final event of the day and should be winning what looks a suitable race on resumption.

The daughter of Spirit Of Boom remained undefeated last campaign as she went from a R&S Rating of 85+ first-up, two 102 when winning the Champion Fillies in November.

Pike and Williams will team up again with the three-yar-old filly, and while she has to beat some good horses in Super Smink and Saloon Bar, i think her main dangers have enough knocks that she can win first-up.

She's a very exciting filly who we may not have seen the best of yet, and 1200m first-up with no weight on her back appears a recipe for success.

Her best is already as good as the horses she's taking on this Saturday, and she gets a nice weight swing in her favour.


The bet365 Best From The West

Best Bet: Race 2 Number 1 CHOLLIMA @ $2.60* with bet365

Next Best: Race 9 Number 10 KESHI BOOM @ $2.80* with bet365


*Prices correct as of 3:45pm, May 16th.

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