Trade Fair’s Virtual Trader has quickly developed into a leading candidate for the Group 2 $350,000 WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot on November 24.
Virtual Trader, prepared at Pinjarra by Brett Pope, started his campaign with a neck second to Antique Belle in the Westspeed 3Y0 Handicap (1200m) at the Belmont Park mid-week meeting on October 3.
He then won the Westspeed 3Y0 Handicap (1200m) at October 10’s mid-week meeting before defying a 2kg weight rise and stronger opposition to take the Crown Perth Handicap (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
“He was third favourite behind Carryon Regardless and Passion Cantata but I thought he was the one to beat,” said Pope. “I have been happy with him all the way along.
“The Trade Fair’s are just tough stock. You work them, take them home and they eat.
“He’s a big gross horse and should continue to tighten up. He’s thriving.
“He has been leading but we were happy to ride him quite. We had him ridden cold in a trial and when a gap opened he really took it.”
Virtual Trader is from Virtual, by Encosta de Lago, who descends from the In Reality mare, Cousin Bridget, one of the first mares the late Robert Holmes a Court bought in the United States.
Trade Fair stands at John Andrew’s Alwyn Park Stud, Serpentine.
Lynward Park, Bullsbrook, who own a majority share in Trade Fair, received a further boost when Balmont Flyer, by resident stallion Balmont, won the Crown Plaza Championship (10 1/2 furlongs) at Dundalk in Ireland on Friday.
Balmont Flyer, ridden by Pat Smullen, surged to the lead 1 1/2 furlongs out and held on to win by a half length.
He’s from Ballyhookeen Lass, a half-sister to Hong Kong Group 2 winner Muhim and to Ela’s Gold, the dam of High Society, a Listed winner in the US and Ireland. High Society, in turn, is the dam of brilliant Society Rock, winner of the Group 1 Royal Ascot Golden Jubilee Stakes and Haydock Sprint Cup.