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Morton’s Elite Roma Cup warning

Trainer Dan Morton says quality gelding Elite Street can bounce back to his very best and be hard to beat in Saturday’s $200,000 Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) at Ascot.

Morton believes the four-year-old can return to the form that proved good enough to topple a Group 1 field in last November’s Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth.

At just his eighth start and five months after scoring a Belmont maiden victory, Elite Street, with the aid of jockey Brad Rawiller, scored a stunning upset victory on home soil.

Despite Elite Street’s reputation taking a body blow in Melbourne during the autumn, Morton is unfazed and says it’s best to rule a line through his failures.

Elite Street’s interstate campaign got off to a horror start when he suffered internal bleeding and ran last in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington. Any hopes for a revival were dashed when he followed up with an 11th in the Newmarket (1200m) and a ninth in the William Reid (1200m).

But Morton says Elite Street has relished being back at home and is showing the same classy signs as he did in the lead up to the Winterbottom Stakes six months ago.

“He’s back on home turf and in familiar surroundings,” Morton told Tabradio. “He’s up and about and did a nice piece of work, just a finishing gallop on the grass this morning [Wednesday]. He looked good to me and pretty bright when he pulled up.

“I’m going in fairly confident.”

Despite the Roma Cup attracting a star-studded line up of horses, Morton believes Elite Street has the edge on his rivals.

Brilliant Northam Stakes (1100m) winner, Cup Night is chasing back-to-back feature races and veteran galloper Rock Magic is after a record third victory in the race.

Trainer Simon Miller has a powerful three-pronged attack with Flirtini, Valour Road and Dance Music highly rated.

Classy gallopers Windstorm and The Velvet King resume, while Uni Time threatens to run a big race

“I would like to think a lot of them have to come up to his level,” Morton said. “If he gets there in the same sort of shape as around Winterbottom time, and I don’t think he’s far off, I think he should be the one to beat.”

With several key rivals drawing wide, Elite Street has come up with the perfect draw in gate eight. Ace jockey Chris Parnham has the mount.

“Chris actually rang me when the fields came out and he was pretty happy with the gate,” Morton said. “Touch wood everything falls into place for him.

“All things being equal he should go good.”

After opening at $4.60, Elite Street has firmed into $4 favoritism with TABtouch. Windstorm has eased from $4 to 4.40. Cup Night is $5.50

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