Russell Stewart is a big boxing fan, particularly the halcyon days of the heavyweight division in the 70s featuring Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Joe Frazier.
Keeping in line with the pugilism theme, the Ascot trainer is also an admirer of the Rocky franchise films, a fictional character written, directed and starring Sylvester Stallone.
The film portrays Rocky Balboa as the underdog, a down and out club fighter who defies the odds and climbs off the canvas to win an unlikely heavyweight crown.
Stewart will draw on that underdog and against all odds theme when he saddles Street Parade in Saturday’s Amelia Park-Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) at Ascot.
The market and expert judges tell you Street Parade and 14 other rivals in the race will face a tough task to knock over the raging hot favourite Amelia’s Jewel.
Simon Miller’s unbeaten filly justifiably commands respect after jaw dropping wins in the Supremacy Stakes (1000m) and Gimcrack Stakes (1100m).
But despite Amelia’s Jewel shaping as an unstoppable force, Stewart isn’t quite prepared to throw in the towel and concede defeat.
The former jockey doesn’t shy away from the challenge facing Street Parade in the Karrakatta Plate, but says he’s not prepared to count him out as a winning chance.
“He’s like Rocky Balboa, he gives 110 percent and never lets you down,” Stewart told The Races WA.
“He’s no world beater, but is a tough bugger and I’d like to be in the trenches with him.
“He’s been in the money in each of his five starts, he hasn’t finished further back than third.
“Look, Amelia’s Jewel is the horse to beat, she is a very nice filly and I respect Simon Miller, but she’s not unbeatable.
“I’m just humbled to be in the race and I think he’s up to his eyeballs in it.
“We’re a small stable and its great credit to all our team to be involved.”
Stewart says drawing an outside gate adds a layer of difficulty for Amelia’s Jewel, despite her stunning victory from a similar position in the Gimcrack Stakes.
Conversely, he believes Street Parade can use gate two to his tactical advantage.
“When she drew barrier 17 I thought that was going to make my task somewhat easier to beat her,” Stewart said.
“She’s going to have a lot of bums in front of her and she may have to course wide.
“They could push her wider and wider.
“There are 16 horses this time, she’s not going to be playing with 11.
“He (Street Parade) might be a fair way in front of her at the 400m.
“He’ll be in the first half a dozen and as long as Brad (Parnham) is patient, because he has a terrific turn of foot.”
Amelia’s Jewel has a stranglehold on favouritism ($1.70) with Left The Building the only other runner in single figure odds ($8).
Street Parade is currently rated a $10 chance.
“She’s (Amelia’s Jewel) not the only one,” Stewart said.
“I’ve got a big opinion of Capricorn Man who jumped and led from barrier 14 at his last start.
“He could be the surprise packet that is up there, he’s a big, raw untouched horse.
“I’ve got big respect for him and She’s Greysful ($21) has done nothing wrong.
“It’s a bloody good race with depth in it.
“I’m not scared of the favourite, I’m scared of something bobbing up as an unknown.”