Ihts Closing Inn signed off an extended campaign with a perfectly-timed finish in the LR Belmont Classic (2200m) on Saturday and her arrival on the big stage is timely ahead of the G2 Perth Cup (2400m) on Monday, January 1.
RWWA has doubled the purse for the New Year’s Day feature to restore its status to a level it deserves. “There’s a million dollars on offer now and I don’t have a stayer in my yard that could beat Ihts Closing Inn,” trainer Adam Durrant said. “She will keep progressing next season, so who knows?”
Ihts Closing Inn (3f Sessions – Ihtsatune by Ihtiram) has marched through the grades winning five in a row since breaking her maiden at Geraldton in January. She graduated to Listed level in the Belmont Oaks (2000m) earlier this month and Saturday’s last-to-first victory under Willie Pike sent her earnings to $488,438 including Westspeed bonuses of $222,350.
Oakland Park’s Neville and Susan Duncan bred and race her with Raff Barbaro. It’s one of their most successful families headlined by G1 Kingston Town Classic winner Ihtsahymn.
Ihts Closing Inn carries Oakland Park Stud’s XX5 brand and Willie Pike back to scale after the Belmont Classic / Photo: Westen Racepix
The Belmont Classic capped a day to remember for Oakland Park. Ihts Closing Inn was the fourth winner to carry its Yellow & Black Maltese Cross colours following Sapphire Street (Street Boss), Galactic Storm (Street Boss) and Top Of The Pops (Spirit Of Boom).
Durrant also prepares Galactic Storm and has discussed summer carnival plans with Neville Duncan. “We’ve agreed the Starstruck Classic (1600m) and La Trice Classic (1800m) would be nice races to target but a million dollars is a million dollars and I need a runner in the Perth Cup.
“Ihts Closing Inn just keeps lifting the bar so it’s hard to know how good she really is at this stage. It’s been a great effort by the staff at home to keep her up for so long. She would be lucky to make 15 hands but always responds when the pressure goes on.”
Sessions (Lonhro) stands with Shooting To Win (Northern Meteor) at Oakland Park and they’re both priced at $11,000 service fees (inc GST) this season.