By Caryl Williamson
Monday 28 December 2009, 6:12pm
Newcastle trainer Paul Perry has raced horses all over the world but the far west of his own country is a new experience.
Perry arrived in Western Australia on Monday to oversee the final preparation of Perth Cup topweight Newport ahead of his New Year's Day assignment.
The trainer's foreman son Shannon has been looking after Newport for the past few weeks.
"Everything is coming along nicely," Perry said.
"I've been to Perth before but I've never raced a horse here.
"Newport galloped on the course proper at Ascot this morning before I got here but all reports are that he went well and seems to be enjoying himself over here."
A final field of 16 plus four emergencies was declared on Monday for the Group Two Perth Cup (2400m) with weights raised following the withdrawal of local star Scenic Shot.
Newport will now carry 57 kilograms, 1-1/2 more than Cup favourite Lords Ransom.
"The weight makes it a bit harder," Perry said.
The winner of the 2008 Group One Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick, Newport has finished 10th in the past two Melbourne Cups, collecting more than $100,000 each time.
In the past Perry has travelled horses to Melbourne, Adelaide, Hong Kong, New Zealand and most famously, Royal Ascot where Choisir won two races in 2003 to set a new standard for Australian sprinters.
Local horse Lords Ransom assumed Perth Cup favouritism with his win in the Cox Stakes in which Newport finished ninth after being posted wide all the way.
The Adam Durrant-trained Lords Ransom held off another eastern raider Largo Lad by 1-3/4 lengths to win the Cox.
He was in to $3.60 following final acceptances with Newport a $10 chance on TAB Sportsbet.