Dark Musket will face his biggest test to date in the Westspeed Hcp (1400m) at Belmont this weekend.

The Musket three year-old finished powerfully to win over shorter trips at Bunbury (1000m) and Belmont (1300m) in April – May.  “He’s stepping up to open company on Saturday,” trainer Graeme Ballantyne admitted.  “It’s a big ask but the 1400 metres will suit.”

Dark Musket (3g Musket – Oriental Lass by Faltaat) was bred by Geisel Park and his dam is a three-quarter sister to G1 NZ Easter Hcp winner Sedecrem.  Group 1 NZ Derby runner-up Mount Street is another close relation.

“The way he works makes me think he will eventually get up to 2000m,” Ballantyne said.  “And there’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree.”

Geisel Park owner Eddie Rigg and Yarradale Stud’s Ron Sayers bought Musket to Western Australia in 2010 after a sole season at Darley’s Twin Hills Stud in NSW.  He’s a Group 2 winner of the STC Shannon Stakes and is a Redoute’s Choice three-quarter brother to Makybe Diva.

Another improver from his first crop in the west is Brett Pope’s three year-old filly Mishkebab.  She only started racing in April and, after a York breakthrough in May, toughed out a 1400m win in the Mandurah Mail Hcp at Pinjarra last Sunday.

Musket stood at Yarradale Stud for a $5,500 (inc gst) fee in 2014.