New South Wales-bred gelding Challenging has returned from a spell in fine style and many punters will pin their faith on him to give them a flying start by winning the opening harness racing event, the TABtouch Pace over 2130m aton Friday night.
Herne Hill trainerhas engaged to drive the five-year-old and by virtue of the concession Jones has as a junior driver, the gelding (classified as a C2 performer) was able to draw the prized No. 1 barrier in the race restricted to C1 to C4-class pacers.
The draw is vital and Challenging has a good chance of setting the pace and winning. Jones drove Challenging for the first time when the gelding led from the No. 2 barrier and raced away to win by just under three lengths from Straittothebar over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.
Challenging, an all-the-way Penrith winner from his 14 starts in NSW, has been extremely consistent since being purchased by Robin Zec. His 13 WA starts have produced two wins, seven seconds and a third. His chief rivals this week appear to be Just Bet On Black, Questionable Gesture and The Storm Chief.
Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Colin Brown, is a promising four-year-old who has won at four of his 14 starts. He is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line and possesses sparkling gate speed. He will be having his second start after a spell. He resumed at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when he had a tough run without cover and fought on gamely to be third behind Challenging.
The Peter Anderson-trained Questionable Gesture is maturing into a smart four-year-old and he has strong each-way claims from the outside of the back line.
The New Zealand-bred Questionable Gesture is developing a good deal of toughness and his recent form has been excellent. He had a tough run in the breeze before finishing boldly to win from Star Armbro over 2130m last Friday week. He will be driven by Chris Lewis, replacing the suspended Michael Grantham.