Dan and Ben Pearce are confident their Blackfriars three-year-old, Father Knick, has improved since a breakout race campaign when last in work.

The gelding won his first three races in the spring before finishing eighth as the $4 favourite in the Bunbury 3YO Classic (1000m) when galloped on badly in running.

The Pearce brothers are of the opinion Father Knick has returned bigger and better for his autumn campaign which will commence at Ascot today.

Father Knick is the current $3.60 favourite for the Seacorp Handicap (1100m) despite resuming without the benefit of a trial.

Joseph Azzopardi, who has guided the gelding to three wins from three rides, is booked to take the mount.

Meanwhile, the Pearce stable will launch a two-pronged attack in today’s $100,000 Listed Challenge Stakes (1500m) with three-year-old’s Paradise Square and Superior Smile.

Paradise Square ($10), a Planet Five gelding, has been an impressive Ascot midweek winner at his past two starts and will again be partnered by Azzopardi.

Superior Smile ($71), a son of Patronize, will resume from a spell after producing an eye-catching trial at Pinjarra on February 19 and will have the services of Paul Harvey in the saddle.

The Pearce’s also have Forbidden Planet engaged in the Mumm Champagne Handicap (1000m), the final event on the eight-race card.

The Planet Five five-year-old will race second-up after a luckless return at Ascot a fortnight ago and will be ridden by Alan Kennedy for the first time in a race.

The Pearce brothers elected to scratch Thunder Boom in preference for a race at Ascot on Wednesday. 

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