Bunbury trainer Michael Campbell is thrilled to have his classy three-year-old Bitofmerit back at Belmont Park on Saturday, but warned he could be underdone.
The Demerit gelding will be out to maintain his unbeaten status in the Crown Perth Handicap (1000m) after making a big impression last year.
Bitofmerit made a perfect start on debut when he outpointed Buzzoom last September, who subsequently progressed to win the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m).
He was equally as impressive three months later and made it two from two following a brilliant finishing burst to win a Class 1 event over 1000m by 2 ¼ lengths.
Bitofmerit looked solid in a tune up trial when he was shaded on the line late by the hard running Knot Secret in the fastest heat time of the Belmont trials.
Michael Campbell says Bitofmerit could be vulnerable first-up, but is confident he has the class to overcome it.
“It could be testing in a sharp field,” Campbell told The Races WA. “He missed a grass gallop on Saturday because the track was closed. I had to compensate working him near home at Lucy Warwick’s property. She only lives five minutes away from me and I’m blessed to have her help.
“It’s possible he is a bit burly, but he’s a clean winded animal and that can level it out. He’s done a lot of bush work and swimming and wading to get him fit. He’s filled out since his last run, growing an inch and a half, and has put on at least 20kg.
“I was pretty happy with how he came through the trial and the time he ran. He was only pipped on the line and the track was pretty chopped up. It’s good to see him back.”
Bitofmerit has drawn perfectly in barrier two for Warwick and has been well backed for his return. After opening at $2.60 with Tabtouch, he has firmed into $1.90. Last-start winner Astrape is next at $6.50, ahead of My Baby Blue Jean ($7) and State Of Power ($7.50).
Bitofmerit attracted significant interest from interstate and overseas buyers last year.
"He could be a bit underdone, but has the class to overcome it."— The Races WA (@TheRacesWA) June 23, 2022
Michael Campbell on exciting 3YO Bitofmerit. https://t.co/EC9NYjyEmB @TABradio @TAB_touch @WesternRacepix @santassnippets pic.twitter.com/YuJGMagmKy