He was close to winning big up until this point, but not close enough.
The trend began on Saturday a week ago when dreams of winning the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) with Alaskan God were sadly dashed.
Last season’s star Perth three-year-old started second favorite but any hopes of victory were dashed when he finished 10th in the Trix Of The Trade.
He was caught somewhat by surprise by his less celebrated stablemate Startrade, a former Geraldton galloper who continues to perform above expectations.
Dan Morton’s anxiety only intensified and the heat rose as two of his star sprinters tackled last weekend’s G1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Classic mare Kissonallforcheeks, returning from a Melbourne campaign, almost clinched the race before being overwhelmed by an incredible finishing charge from Paulele.
Sent the second favourite, Elite Street ran his heart out in sixth, but a difficult passage parked wide ruined a win in the Winterbottom Stakes for a second time.
It’s no redemption for Morton on Saturday, but he’s no orphan looking to win the final G1 of the year, the Drummond Golf-Northerly Stakes (1800m).
Alaskan God and Startrade will have 14 more rivals to overcome, led by Godolphin Blue Army’s Cascadian and boom Perth mare, Amelia’s Jewel.
Morton says he hasn’t lost faith in the Alaskan God and believes the four-year-old Playing God has the class to overcome his early setback.
“I haven’t lost faith in the Alaskan God,” Morton told The Races WA.
“He entered the railroad second in the mile.”
“The race didn’t go his way and it was an ugly watch.
“It was a tough mile for him, but there are horses coming in that have the capacity as you see them.
“Horses that don’t have capacity can fall apart.
“But I think he came out of it very well and he’s the one who turned up.
“And 1600m is as short as he wants.
“Don’t get me wrong, I went into the race thinking his class would get him, but it didn’t.
“I’m not sure he’s going to win, I’m happy with where he is.
“I know he’s the one and he’ll be in between.
Chris Parnham will once again ride Alaskan God and Chris Nicoll will keep his horse for Startrade.
The Geraldton-owned galloper has been a real surprise since joining the Morton camp, placing in Asian Beau and 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 is so tough and can run 1800m.
The draw for the Northerly Stakes barrier will take place this afternoon at 4.30pm.
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