Two down, two to go – that’s the equation facing trainer Vaughn Sigley and Black Heart Bart.
The Blackfriars sprinter-miler won the LR Birthday Stakes (1200m) first-up at Belmont on October 3 and backed up with an exciting victory in the G3 Northerly Stakes (1420m) at Ascot on Wednesday.
Black Heart Bart and top mare Wink And A Nod (McFlirt) made their runs in tandem from the back of the field with Sigley’s stable star getting the verdict by a nose. “We had to make a few adjustments with the meeting being delayed from Saturday,” he said. “But he adapted and hasn’t blown a candle out.”
Sigley will raise the bar again next time out when Black Heart Bart starts in the G2 Lee-Steere Stakes (1400m) on November 7 as a final lead-up to the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 21.
The million-dollar mile has been the goal since a luckless trip east earlier this year in the G1 Goodwood and G1 Stradbroke. “He’s more mature and tractable now and, hopefully, we get a bit of luck in the big one.”
Black Heart Bart (5g Blackfriars – Sister Theresa by At Talaq) emerged as a potential Group 1 winner last summer winning 5 Listed events between November and March. His only hiccup was a half-length loss to Blackfriars sprinter Shining Knight in the LR Crawford Quality.
“He was feeling the pinch and then stuck his head out right on the line,” jockey Glenn Smith explained after weighing in on Wednesday. “He had them covered at the furlong but needed the run. He’s grown up this season and has probably found another couple of lengths.”
Black Heart Bart is building up a tremendous strike rate for a Geraldton syndicate that includes Kim Renner, Craig Delacy, Dave Richardson, Arthur Psaltis and Ian McCarthy.
He cost $20,000 after being passed in at the 2012 Perth Magic Millions and his earnings now stand at $698,430. Scenic Lodge champion Blackfriars got him from a half-sister to NZ & Australia Group 1 winner Savannah Success – the dam of Group 1 racehorse and sire Savabeel.
Blackfriars (Danehill) sired a double on Wednesday with Liberty Rise winning first-up for Colin Webster and fellow Scenic Lodge stallion Universal Ruler was also in the frame when his mare Raczynski completed a hat-trick earlier in the afternoon.
Black Heart Bart has been installed a $5 TAB favourite for the Railway Stakes ahead of Group 1 winners Delicacy and Turn Me Loose (NZ) at $8.