Runner by Runner: The Quokka

1. Overpass (58.5kg)

Trainer: Bjorn Baker
Jockey: Joshua Parr
Barrier 6

Is a proven Ascot 1200 WFA star having won the inaugural $4,000,000 Tabtouch Quokka and the 2023 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes in his two visits to Western Australia. He is a beast fresh: first-up in September 2022 he finished second to Nature Strip when he was at the peak of his powers, first-up in April 2023 he took out the Quokka, first-up in September 2023 he ran second to Private Eye in The Shorts (1100) at Group Two Level and his recent trial on 18 March over 900m at Rosehill was equally effortless as it was impressive. Josh Parr has ridden him to 5 of his 7 career wins, he has a Prize Money balance that currently reads a whopping $5,704,100 and in his two feature victories in WA he has beaten: Amelia’s Jewel, Bella Nipotina, Oscar’s Fortune, Ripcord and Triple Missile. Won the 2023 Quokka off 154 days and attacks the 2024 Quokka off 140 days. Same set up, same result? Beaten them before and can certainly beat them again. Imagine the scenes.

2. King Of Sparta (58.5kg)

Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden
Jockey: Blake Shinn
Barrier: 4

Has been a wonderful journeyman – racing 6 times as a 2-year-old back in 2021 and is very much still at his best as a 5-year-old.  Has really made a name for himself as the King of the Gold Coast having won the 2022 Gold Coast 3 year old Magic Millions Guineas (1400) in 2022 and both the 2023 and 2024 Magic Millions Sprint (1200) under James McDonald. He clearly runs for JMac – to the point where JMac has had 5 rides aboard King of Sparta for four victories, however, on Quokka Day it’s up to Blake Shinn who has ridden him once, in his most recent outing in the Group Two Expressway (1200) at Randwick when emerging victorious. He carried 1.5kg more than Malkovich in the Expressway and beat him by almost a length so he should have him comfortably covered again. He has a big L600 in his weaponry, his best distance is 1200m (6 of his 8 career wins) and he should be right place, right time, with the right hoop.

3. Malkovich (58.5kg)

Trainer: Bjorn Baker
Jockey: Ben Melham
Barrier: 2

Is quick, but will he run out a strong 1200m at WFA in a high-pressure Quokka with stablemate Overpass right there with him, the likes of Oscar’s Fortune and King of Sparta poised and ready to strike in behind him and the ominous shadow that is an erupting Amelia’s Jewel? Not convinced. He has won 8 from 36, but of those 8 wins they’ve been split equally between 1000m (4) and 1100m (4). He has actually only raced beyond 1100m on five occasions with his best efforts both being this preparation in the 2024 Expressway when third behind King of Sparta (who he meets 1.5kg worse at the weights) and then most recently when second behind Bandi’s Boy in the Star Kingdom Stakes (1200) at Group Three Level at Rosehill. He needed a barrier drawn inside stablemate Overpass and that’s exactly what he got at the barrier draw on Tuesday morning. Has been a noticeable firmer in betting over the last 48 hours.

4. Triple Missile (58.5kg)

Trainer: Grant & Alana Williams
Jockey: Brad Parnham
Barrier: 7

Is back home where it all started, now with new trainers Grant & Alana Williams. Back in 2022 he won five races for Todd Harvey and then Lindsey Smith before heading to Victoria where he won a BM 100 at Flemington (1400), an Open Handicap at Swan Hill (1200) and finished second in a Chatham Stakes (1200) and a Gilgai Stakes (1200). Nightmare run in the 2023 Winterbottom Stakes – he was lucky to stay on his feet – but worth remembering he did jump an $8 chance in betting. Got punters excited that he may have been back to his very best with a big Lark Hill trial win under William Pike however that excitement dissipated quickly in the Roma Cup when drifting out to 15-1 before being beaten 5.1L behind Oscar’s Fortune, Amelia’s Jewel and Ripcord, but more concerningly also behind Joey acceptor Gemma’s Son. Not sure where he’s at.

5. Waitak (58.5kg)

Trainer: Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott
Jockey: Kyle Wilson-Taylor
Barrier: 10

Has had an intriguing career. He won a 1200m race on a Heavy8 as a 2-year-old before heading to a Group One 1400 and a Listed 1600 to end his juvenile preparation. Returning as a 3-year-old he won a Listed 1500 before running second in the 2023 Auckland Guineas (1600), fourth in the Waikato Guineas (2000), second in the Avondale Guineas (2100) and fifth in the New Zealand Derby (2400). After that testing six run preparation, he only had a 42 day freshen before tackling another four Australian races where nothing went right for him and by the time he went around in the Queensland Derby (2400) he had clearly had enough. Back to New Zealand he went and as a now 4-year-old he has won a 1300m Handicap and a Group One Sistema Railway (1200). Most recent run was over 1400m and now he’s back to Australia once again, 70 days between runs and back to 1200m. 1 from 15 on Good rated tracks, 3 from 4 on rain affected. Doubt Ascot suits?

6. Saloon Bar (58.5kg)

Trainer: Daniel Morton
Jockey: Rhys McLeod 
Barrier: 1

Is racing out of his skin at the minute but plainly and simply he’ll need to elevate to a whole new level to be figuring in the finish of a WFA 1200. To date he is the winner of a 3 year old Northam maiden (1400), a Graduation (1200), a 66+ (1200) and a 78+ (1200) – all ratings races. He went to a SWP for the first time when he finished 2.1L behind Oscar’s Fortune in the Bluff Knoll and now meets him 1kg worse at the weights on Quokka Day for being beaten fair and square. Last start he finished a narrow second to Joey fancy Laced Up Heels in a 72+ 1200 and while he’s racing in career best form, like Almighty Class, like Petula, like Wild Belle and off her trials potentially like Super Smink – he’s going to have to produce a massive career PB to win the Quokka. A top half finish would justify just how well he looks to be going, but a top 4 finish would be a shock.

7. Bella Nipotina (56.5kg)

Trainer: Ciaron Maher
Jockey: Craig Williams
Barrier 13

Has amassed $8,707,125 in Stake Money and Bonus’ across her illustrious 47 start career including a brilliant 4.8L Group One victory in the 2022 Manikato (1200) at Moonee Valley on a Heavy8. She has won a Group Two (Sapphire – 1200), 2x Group Threes (How Now – 1200 & Quezette – 1100), a Listed Win (Norman Carlyon – 1000) as well as many other Mares and Feature races. In 2023 she attacked the inaugural running of the Quokka fourth-up off 22 days coming out of a second placing in the Group One William Reid (1200) and in 2024 she’s heading back to the West fifth-up after running fourth in the William Reid before finishing second to Chain Of Lightning in the TJ Smith (1200) beating home gun sprinter I Wish I Win and one of the world’s best in Imperatriz. She’s a Group One winner, is Group One placed on another six occasions and this time last year was only half a length off Overpass and Amelia’s Jewel. She has to be one of the main contenders yet again, even with the wide draw.

8. Amelia’s Jewel (56.5kg)

Trainer: Simon Miller
Jockey: Damien Lane
Barrier: 12

Western Australia’s highest rated galloper at a m113 and the winner of 9 from 14. “Walshy’s West Aussie Wonder Filly” chases redemption in the $5,000,000 Kia Quokka after being beaten in a narrow photo by Overpass in the inaugural running of the race in 2023. After bursting onto the scene as a 2-year-old winning the Supremacy (1000), Gimcrack (1100) and Karrakatta (1200) she then added a Belgravia (1200), WA Guineas (1600), Northerly Stakes (1800) and a Roma Cup (1100) to her overwhelming CV as a 3 year old filly. Since turning 4 she has won a Lets Elope (1400), beaten mare of the moment Pride Of Jenni in the Stock Stakes (1600) and resumed with a fast finishing second to Oscar’s Fortune in the 2024 Roma Cup. While defeated in the Roma Cup she still recorded the fastest overall L1000, 800, 600, 400 & 200 and clearly the fastest L200 furlong. Brings attention to WA Racing, brings people to the races and no doubt she’ll be primed come Saturday. Game on.

9. Ripcord (56.5kg)

Trainer: Luke Fernie
Jockey: Clint Johnston-Porter
Barrier: 5

Won the Listed Perth Stakes (1100) on debut as a 2-year-old off only one singular 400m jump out – serious impression. His 3 year old season has been impeccable – a six-start preparation from September to December produced a second placing in the Max Simmonds Stakes (1000), a Placid Ark Stakes victory (1200), a third placing at Group One Level behind Overpass and Oscar’s Fortune in the Winterbottom Stakes (WFA 1200) and a second placing to Munhamek in the Damien Oliver Gold Rush (WFA 1400). Was beaten 3.3 lengths by Oscar’s Fortune and Amelia’s Jewel in the Roma Cup, however, he went into that event without a trial (like Amelia’s Jewel) or a run under his belt (like Oscar’s Fortune). Should come on big time from the first-up run in terms of comparative fitness and has an outstanding turn of foot when saved up for one late run. Continues to raise the bar.

10. Oscar’s Fortune (56.5kg)

Trainer: Dion Luciani
Jockey: William Pike
Barrier: 3

Still looks like a big baby who has no idea racing is all about. What we’re seeing at the minute is a horse who is producing outstanding results on raw ability alone. He went 4 from 4 undefeated in his early career progressing from a 3 year old 0MWLY (midweek 1000) to a 3 year old Plate (Saturday 1000) then 6 weeks later onto a 66+ (1000) beating the older horses before saluting in the Placid Ark Prelude (1000). He was beaten at his first attempt over 1200m in the Placid Ark Stakes by fellow 3 year old gun Ripcord before putting in a career best performance when second to Overpass in the Group One Winterbottom Stakes. Left everyone a bit confused after being beaten in the Bluff Knoll – a race where he should have been a SWP moral – but far more importantly, bounced back to his best when holding out Amelia’s Jewel in the Roma Cup. 3-year-old at WFA, William Pike aboard, a barrier to work with and a really attractive racing pattern. He’s very much in this.

11. Wild Belle (56.5kg)

Trainer: Luke Fernie
Jockey: Steven Parnham
Barrier: 11

Has always been an extremely exciting animal but given how sparingly she’s been raced and the open and honest commentary from her trainer she’s clearly had to work through some significant soundness issues across her short career to date. Won her maiden by almost 7L over 1000m at Northam back in October 2022 and in that same preparation finished third behind My Bella Mae and Revitup in the Placid Ark Stakes (1200). 85 days later she destroyed a 3-year-old line-up over 1100m at Ascot before heading East for an ultimately frustrating and disappointing two start campaign in Victoria. Since returning to WA as a 4-year-old mare she’s run a luckless fourth in the Summer Scorcher (she wins with clear galloping room), a dominant Miss Andretti Stakes win (1200) and a Rock Magic (1000) win off a 66 day freshen. Last horse to secure a slot in the Quokka and you’d have to think the clear second pick of the Fernie pair.

12. Almighty Class (56.5kg)

Trainer: Mitchell Pateman
Jockey: Jarrad Noske
Barrier: 8

Stamped his natural talent when breaking his maiden in the Max Simmonds Stakes (1000) first-up as a returning 3 year old back in October 2023 when beating key Quokka rivals Ripcord (by 1.5L) and Petula (by 3.1L), clocking a sizzling 33.05 L600 in the process. He was zapped in the shadows by Super Smink in the Belgravia (1200) at his second-up outing and then was forced to the paddock by a cruelly timed virus meaning that he missed an opportunity to showcase his ability in the Placid Ark / Winterbottom Stakes. Has had two runs back this time in at 72+ ratings level and has been unable to beat the older horses. First-up he had no luck whatsoever over 1000m when held up until the 100 (still clocked 33.07 L600) and then loomed large from the breeze second-up but just couldn’t put them away. Looks better suited sitting back with cover in a fast run race and expect that’s exactly how they will look to ride him on Quokka Day.

13. Super Smink (54.5kg)

Trainer: Daniel Morton
Jockey: Chris Parnham
Barrier: 14

Gun two-year-old who completed the Magic Millions (1200), Karrakatta Plate (1200), Sires Produce (1400) treble in 2023 before returning victorious as a 3 year old first-up in the Belgravia Stakes (1200). Was upset as a $1.40 pop in the Burgess Queen Stakes (1400) which interestingly also happened to Amelia’s Jewel the year before, and then finished third behind two quality animals in Zipaway and subsequent WATC Derby winner A Lot Of Good Men in the WA Guineas (1600). She ended her preparation with bad luck – both from a programming sense (unable to gain a start in the Gold Rush) and on the track (held tight into the home straight in a Damian Lane masterclass in the Starstruck). Been a long time since there’s been so much speculation, conjecture and opinion placed on a set of Lark Hill trials but after she was withdrawn from the Roma Cup you have to start raising the red flag and wondering just how well she’s tracking behind the scenes. Ultimately only Danny Morton would know. Shades on first time but barrier 14 of 14 first-up in a Quokka? Tough.

14. Petula (54.5kg)

Trainer: Simon Miller
Jockey Patrick Carbery
Barrier: 9

Has become a real surprise slot holder and if you’d framed an All-In Market for the 2024 Quokka in January or February she would have been 200-1, however, after stablemate Live To Tell required throat surgery the Tabcorp/Sky Racing Slot was thrown up in the air and luckily for them Simon Miller has been able to unearth a real X-Factor runner in Petula. Since being freshened after the Pinnacles in December she’s returned in brilliant fashion winning the WA Breeders Classic at Bunbury (1200), the Fillies & Mares Pearl Classic at Pinjarra (1300) and then produced a big third to Wild Belle in the Rock Magic (1000). She meets Wild Belle half a kilo worse in the Quokka for being beaten half a length last start and there has to be a huge query for both of them on the quality and depth of that race as a form reference – Acromantula / Gemma’s Son / Real Danger / Red Can Man aren’t Quokka types. Exciting filly but thrown in the deep end here.


He has come to Western Australia twice and won the 2023 Quokka and 2023 Winterbottom Stakes – they’re both identical races in the sense that they’re 1200m WFA at Ascot. His recent trial was sharp, he’s drawn to get a gun run over the top of the speed following his stablemate Malkovich into the home corner and he’ll look to burn away from them in a similar fashion to the 2023 Winterbottom Stakes and hold out the late challengers. He’s eachway and he’ll look the winner at the top of the straight. Love Amelia’s Jewel, think Oscar’s Fortune is right up to them and the chances don’t stop there, but siding up with Overpass to go back to back to back in the WA Sprinting Features.

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