Morton is praying that the Alaskan God can rise in the Northerly Stakes

Image: RWWA

Up to this point, he’s been close to big wins, but not close enough.

The trend began on Saturday last week when dreams of winning the G1 Rail Stakes (1600m) with Alaskan God were sadly dashed.

Last season’s three-year-old Perth star started second favourite, but any hopes of victory were dashed when he finished 10th in the Trix Of The Trade.

In something of a surprise, he was beaten by his less famous stablemate Startrade, a former Geraldton galloper who continues to perform above expectations.

Dan Morton’s anxiety intensified and the heat turned up when two of his star sprinters tackled last weekend’s G1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

Class mare Kissonallforcheeks, who was returning from a campaign in Melbourne, almost pinched the race before being overwhelmed by Paulele’s incredible final burst.

Sent second favourite, Elite Street gave his heart out for sixth but a difficult passage parked wide and won the Winterbottom Stakes for a second time.

It’s no redemption for Morton on Saturday, but he is no orphan in his bid to take out the final G1 of the year, the Drummond Golf-Northerly Stakes (1800m).

Alaskan God and Startrade will have 14 other rivals to overcome, led by Godolphin Blue Army’s Cascadian and booming Perth filly Amelia’s Jewel.

Morton says he hasn’t lost faith in Alaskan God and believes the Playing God four-year-old has the class to overcome his setback on his last start.

“I haven’t lost faith in the God of Alaska,” Morton told The Races WA.

“He got on the rail in second, over the mile.

“The race didn’t work for him and it was an ugly watch.

“It was a tough mile for him, but the horses that have the ability you see coming.

“Horses that don’t have the ability can fall apart.

“But I think he’s come out of it really well and he’s one that’s come along.

“And 1600 meters is as short as he wants.

“Don’t get me wrong, I went into the race thinking his class would get him through, but it didn’t.

“I’m not sure he’s going to win, I’m just happy with where he is.

“I know he’s the real deal and he’ll be among them.”

Chris Parnham will once again ride Alaskan God and Chris Nicoll retains the mount on Startrade.

The Geraldton-owned galloper has been a real surprise package since joining the Morton camp, winning places in both the Asian Beau and the Railway in his last two starts.

The six-year-old has 12 wins from 34 starts but remains winless over 1400m.

“He didn’t take a step back at all,” Morton said.

“He’s so tough and can absolutely run 1800m.”

The draw for the Northerly Stakes barrier will take place this afternoon at 4.30pm.

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