Adam Durrant says if Tena Koutou keeps progressing, he’s a top chance of claiming the Aquanita Stakes (2000m) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The Blackfriars gelding is chasing a winning hatrick in the Aquanita Stakes after recording strong mile victories at Kalgoorlie and Pinjarra.
Durrant feels Tena Koutou, closely related to Victoria Derby (2500m) place getter Kia Ora Koutou, was improving with each run.
“It’s a very open race and it will be interesting,” Adam Durrant said on Tabradio.
“He’s a three-quarter brother to Kia Ora Koutou, which was a well above average stayer.
“You think he has the right bloodline and I liked the way he ran through the line the other day.
“He was strong, albeit probably in weaker company.
“He’s in a good place and seems to be looking better and better the more we turn the screws on him.
“It’s a pretty good sign and he’s a big dopey Blackfriars that genuinely keep improving.”
Clint Johnston Porter, fresh from winning last Saturday’s Strickland Stakes on Naughty By Nature, remains with Tena Koutou.
Crescent City holds market lead in the Aquanita. Trained by Grant and Alana Williams, he’s the $2.65 favourite.
Kerman Rock, third in the WA Derby and runner-up last start to Sheza Chalmer in the Belmont Guineas, is next at $3.70.
Tradem’In is $7.50 and Tena Koutou $8.
Durrant believes the Chris Willis-trained Kerman Rock is the biggest threat to Tena Koutou.
“I guess you have to lean to Chris Willis’ horse,” Durrant said.
“It’s run second to the filly (Sheza Chalmer) who should take out the Oaks (Belmont).
“On that form it will be tough to beat and has good credentials.”
Durrant is less optimistic of success with stable mate Tri For Us in the Belmont Oaks.
He fears raging favourite Sheza Chalmer will validate her ranking and be hard to knock over.
Tri For Us was overrun by Sheza Chalmer in the Belmont Guineas two weeks ago.
Durrant doesn’t believe Tri For Us can turn the tables.
“The favourite is a class filly,” Durrant said.
“If the same horse turns up she is far too strong.
“Only bad luck can beat the favourite.
“She looks the real deal.”
Durrant also has Belmont Park representation with Bollinger Boy, Not To Be Mist and I’m Pretty in the last.
I’m Pretty, unbeaten this preparation, is the $2.80 favourite to score a winning hat trick in the Crown Towers Handicap (1600m).
“She’s going super and has come back in great nick,” Durrant said.
“She hasn’t missed a beat since that last start run and her work on Tuesday was excellent.
“She’s been ripping through the lines really strong.
“Looking forward to see her go around again.
“Good barrier, drops in weight and she’s got Pike on board in the last.
“I think she is the best of the day and across the weekend for me.”