Day At The Track

Gloucester Park review

01:21 PM 22 Feb 2021 NZDT
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Gloucester Park, Harness racing

Wildwest defies early challenges

Exciting five-year-old Wildwest provided champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr with his third victory in the $50,000 Governor’s Cup when he defied spirited early challenges for the lead from Bracken Sky and Talktomeurmattjesty in the group 2 2130m feature event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The New Zealand-bred Wildwest, the $1.60 favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier, had to be driven hard to keep his rivals at bay before bowling along in front and winning by 2m at a 1.54.9 rate from $13 chance Miracle Moose, with Cyclone Banner ($51) running on from sixth at the bell to be third.

“The fast lead time (34.6sec.) was always going to be,” said Hall. “I had to make my intentions clear. I was surprised that Bracken Sky (barrier five) was the first to have a crack for the lead.

“But Wildwest was having his first try from the inside barrier in this company and I expected a few would have a go for the lead. Bracken Sky got a bit of an advantage on me, but we were able to kick through on the inside, and this (the early speed) probably helped me to hold out Talktomeurmattjesty.

“Wildwest didn’t get fierce; he’s over that, but it is hanging that remains a problem. On the fence he’s obviously manageable, but out wider he is inclined to hang. He was flat at the finish, but he didn’t switch off.” 

Wildwest, prepared by Gary Hall snr, will now be set for the Pinjarra Cup on Monday March 1. There is also a strong possibility that the Raging Bull gelding will be sent to race in Sydney where he is sure to be better suited on the spacious 1400m Menangle track.

Wildwest, who won at his only start in New Zealand, in a 2400m stand at Winton In May 2019, has raced 14 times in Western Australia for nine wins.

Rumour Has It survives hoof fracture

Promising filly Rumour Has It’s future was in the balance last year after she fractured a hind hoof when she attempted to leap over a 5ft steel gate at trainer Debra Lewis’s Hopeland property.

This kept her out of action for nine months before she resumed racing --- and she enhanced her prospects of winning the rich WA Oaks on April 9 when she scored a smart all-the-way victory in the group 2 $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Fourth favourite at $7.70 from the prized No. 1 barrier, Rumour Has It ambled through the lead time in 38.3sec. and the opening quarters in 29.8sec. and 29.9sec. before sprinting the final 400m sections in 28.2sec. and 28sec. to beat the fast-finishing pair of Just For Love ($71) and Black Jack Baby ($5.50).

The $1.90 favourite Always An Angel raced three wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before wilting to finish fifth. The winner, bred, owned and trained by Debra Lewis, now has earned $74,137 from six wins and four placings from 12 starts.

“Rumour Has It didn’t race too much in her two-year-old season,” said star reinsman Chris Lewis. “She jumped a steel gate, and all but cleared the gate, but got a back leg caught and fractured a back hoof.

“We will now be looking for a few Westbred races for her and the 2536m of the Oaks won’t be a problem. She likes to roll and keeps cutting out (fast) quarters. Tonight, she actually travelled a little slower than I wanted. I wanted to step her up a bit but she star gazed a little bit.

“She is a capable filly and is not just a frontrunner who has a few options apart from leading, which was a good option tonight.”

The win gave Lewis a record fourth success in the Daintys Daughter Classic --- after wins with Five Hundred More (2005), Sheer Royalty (2009) and Double Expresso (2020).

Rumour Has It is by American stallion Roll With Joe and is the eighth foal out of the Christian Cullen mare Roustabout, who had only 12 starts for four wins, two placings and $33,171. Roustabout won twice from three New Zealand starts, was unplaced at her only appearance in Victoria and had eight starts in WA in 2006 for two wins and two seconds.

As a four-year-old Roustabout, trained by Noel Keiley, won the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay.

Rumour Has It is a half-sister to Arousing (110 starts for 11 wins, 32 placings and $119,663), Just A Horse (157 starts for ten wins, 28 placings and $77,234) and Loving You (59 starts for ten wins, 20 placings and $97,229).


Matai Geordie is a speed machine

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred pacer Matai Geordie lived up to the prediction of champion reinsman Gary Hall jnr that the gelding is a speed machine when he revealed a spectacular last-lap burst on his way to a runaway victory in the 1730m APG Perth Yearling Sale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The $1.60 favourite, prepared by Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall snr, started from the inside of the back line and Hall jnr was able to ease him out into the one-wide line on the first bend to assume a commanding position, one-out and two-back, with the polemarker Anvil Rollover ($12) setting a brisk pace.

The opening quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 29.4sec. and Hall bided his time until he set Matai Geordie on fire with a three-wide burst about 600m from home. He sprinted brilliantly, surged to the front at the 380m mark and won by three and a half lengths from $91 outsider Tradie, with Anvil Rollover a length farther back in third place. The final quarters were run in 28.4sec. and 27.4sec.

“It all worked out perfectly,” said Hall. “I had room to pull out whenever I wanted to. They put it on for him because of the speed.

“He will keep working his way through the grades and, hopefully, he will measure up to the Cups next summer. Over in New Zealand he could only sprint, but we can toughen them up, working on the sand.”

The six-year-old Matai Geordie has had only 16 starts for three wins from 12 outings in New Zealand and three wins from four starts in WA.


Hat-trick for transformed Always A Dreamer

Always A Dreamer, a pacer who managed just one win from her first 18 starts, has developed into an outstanding square gaiter who took her record as a trotter to 12 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts when she outclassed her rivals in The Trots WA Trot over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Always A Dreamer, prepared at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, was the $1.40 favourite who gave her backers no concern by leading all the way and coasting to a 7m victory over $7 chance Dark Secret, who finished gamely for Morgan Woodley after racing on the pegs in fifth place for most of the way.

This brought up a hat-trick of wins for Mellsop and driver Deni Roberts, who completed a double after her success with Aly Shar in the previous event.

Always A Dreamer, bred and owned by Bob Fowler, is now certainly paying her way, with her 56 starts producing 13 wins and 17 placings for earnings of $77,913. Her victory completed a successful evening for Fowler, who scored all-the-way wins with Star Aspiration and Star of the Class for trainer Peter Anderson and reinsman Donald Harper at Albany. Then at Narrogin on Saturday night Make It Happen won for Fowler and Harper.


Classic at Lavra Joe’s mercy

Outstanding colt Lavra Joe warmed up in grand style for next Friday night’s $50,000 Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings with an effortless victory in the 2130m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A red hot $1.10 favourite from barrier one, the powerful, muscular colt gave Chris Lewis an armchair drive, leading all the way and winning by three lengths from Talks Up A Storm ($12), with $16 third fancy Mighty Ronaldo a length farther back in third place.

Lavra Joe coasted through the lead time in 38.3sec. and the opening quarters in 30.6sec. and 29.4sec. before dashing over the final 400m sections in 27.8sec. and 27sec. The son of American stallion Roll With Joe, Lavra Joe has earned $137,246 from his 13 wins and six placings from 24 starts.

“The Sales Classic is a race I have been looking forward to,” said owner-trainer Ray Jones. “After that race next week I’ll look at the program for the horse. I’m looking forward to him running in the Country Derby and the WA Derby.

The Murray Lindau-trained Talks Up A Storm trailed Lavra Joe all the way and ran home solidly, while Mighty Ronaldo wilted slightly in the home straight after racing in the breeze over the final 1000m.


Brookies Jet celebrates milestone

Veteran pacer Brookies Jet, unplaced at his previous eight starts and with a losing sequence of 16, celebrated his 200TH start in a race when Emily Suvaljko drove the nine-year-old to an easy victory in the 2536m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A $7.80 chance from the No. 1 barrier, Brookies Jet led for the first 750m before $31 chance Mattjestic Star took up the running. Suvaljko eased Brookies Jet off the pegs 450m from home and the oldtimer hit the front 150m later before running away to beat Valbonne ($13) by two lengths at a 1.56.6 rate.

Brookies Jet’s task was made easier after the $3.20 favourite Shadow Roll and $3.40 second fancy Mr Kiwi locked sulky wheels at the bell and dropped right out of contention.

Brookies Jet’s 200 starts have resulted in 19 wins and 48 placings for stakes of $195,455. He recorded three seconds from five New Zealand starts and a further three seconds from four starts in Victoria before entering the Serpentine stables of Matt Scott, who has prepared the gelding for all his 192 WA starts for his 19 wins.

“Brookies Jet had a mild suspensory problem last year and now he has had about eight runs back, following three to four months in the paddock,” said Scott. “That’s the only issue he has had. He has never had a joint injury or a foot abscess. He has been a very sound horse.”

has never had  a joint injury or a foot abscess. I have had him for five years and he has been a very sound horse.”

The win was the first leg of a training double for Scott, who was successful with Rock Me Over in the following event. Later in the night Scott travelled to Kojonup to watch his girlfriend Sarah Bonner ride Messiah in the Kojonup Cup on Saturday afternoon.

“This was her first ride in a race for four years, and I talked her into it,” said Scott. “She rode about 50 winners, including a win with Dainty Tess in a $60,000 race at Ascot in January 2017. She still rides trackwork every morning for trainer Dan Morton.”

Messiah finished third behind the Darryn Pateman-trained Messiah in the Kojonup Cup, and Scott continued his busy weekend by taking five pacers to compete at the Collie trots on Sunday afternoon where he landed a double with Here Comes Sharkie and Carramar Philemon.

Here Comes Sharkie, driven by Shannon Suvaljko, impressed with his victory in a 2700m stand at his first start for Scott, who recently purchased the seven-year-old for a mere $3000. Here Comes Sharkie ended a losing sequence of 33, stretching back to his win at Swan Hill in December 2018.


Win relieves Oldroyd’s pain

Veteran trainer John Oldroyd is still recovering from a nasty stable accident late last year, and he enjoyed a welcome boost when his five-year-old mare Aly Shar set the pace and won the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Aly Shar, fifth favourite at $7.50, was driven confidently by Deni Roberts and she won by a half-length from the fast-finishing Just Makemine Diamonds ($7), with $11 chance All The Bells, ninth on the pegs at the bell, flashing home out five wide to be a neck away in third place.

Oldroyd and his wife Val bred and own Aly Shar, who was transferred to the stables of Greg and Skye Bond when Oldroyd was recovering from surgery to his damaged right eye. Aly Shar was having her second start for the Bond stable and was handled for the first time in a race by Roberts.

Oldroyd was injured nine days before Christmas day when he was putting a halter on a yearling colt, who suddenly tossed his head sideways and struck the trainer a stinging blow on the side of the head. After a couple of days in pain, Oldroyd was admitted to hospital to undergo surgery to cure problems in his right eye.

Aly Shar is by Alta Christiano and is the first foal out of the Village Jasper mare Shonteleeshar, who won nine races from 19 starts for Oldroyd. Aly Shar now has had 39 starts for ten wins, 11 placings and $63,288 in prizemoney.


Antero turns the corner

Six-year-old gelding Antero, winner of six minor races on country tracks from his first 56 starts, has turned the corner with a vengeance and he has blossomed under the care of Gary Hall snr and his ten starts for the master trainer have produced five wins, three seconds, a fourth and a sixth placing, all at Gloucester Park, to take his career record to 11 wins, 24 placings and $109,212 in stakes.

Antero, favourite at $2.30, set a solid pace and won the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night by a half-length from $41 chance Roman Art, who rattled home from ninth at the bell. Walsh ($7.50) trailed the pacemaker all the way and finished third.

The victory completed a winning treble for star reinsman Gary Hall jnr, who was successful earlier in the night with Wildwest and Matai Geordie.

“Antero has really found his rhythm and is flying,” said Hall jnr. “He had a really bad quarter crack abscess blow out of his heel about two months ago, and ever since has been going super. He always used to go a bit roughly for all his trainers, but now that problem has been cleared up.

“Farrier Larry Boag has kept an eye on the problem hoof, and the horse now races with a bar shoe. He is probably going as good as he ever has and probably better than anyone thought he would go.”

Antero, who is owned by Jodie Gray, is the first foal out of Adda My Way, who had 47 starts for seven wins, ten placings and $32,968. Antero’s maternal granddam Rich And Sassy had 56 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $77,521.

Rich And Sassy’s full-brother Rich And Spoilt was a star performer before becoming a highly successful sire. Rich And Spoilt had 42 starts for 20 wins, 14 placings and stakes of $301,630. He won the Pearl for two-year-olds in March 1999, the Caduceus Club Classic and State Sires Series as a three-year-old as well as finishing second to Talladega in the WA Derby and second to Seelster Sam in the Australian Derby. Then, as a four-year-old, he finished a nose second to Seelster Sam in the Golden Nugget.


Grantham’s unique association

Star young reinsman Michael Grantham continued his remarkable association with veteran pacer Dredlock Rockstar when he secured a freak inside run on the home turn and guided the 12-year-old to a surprise victory over Patrickthepiranha and One For Dave Andme in the 2130m Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.        

The win at $21.70 improved Grantham’s perfect record behind Dredlock Rockstar to three drives in the gelding’s 162 starts for three victories.          

Grantham secured the drive when Dredlock Rockstar’s part-owner and trainer Ash Markham decided to take eight drives at the meeting in Albany on Friday night.

This was the first time Grantham had driven Dredlock Rockstar since the gelding started at $15.30 and covered extra ground before getting up to beat the pacemaker Tanaka Eagle at Gloucester Park on September 15, 2017. That was 68 starts ago. And twelve starts before that, at Gloucester Park on February 24, 2017, Grantham drove Dredlock Rockstar to an all-the-way victory over Vultan Tin.

Howard Hughes, favourite at $1.14, set the pace and looked a certain winner until he broke into a fierce gallop approaching the home turn. Ryan Warwick quickly switched the galloping Howard Hughes inside the pegs, thus avoiding interference to the following runners.

Patrickthepiranha ($15), who had raced in the breeze all the way, then took the lead, but he was unable to withstand the strong finishing burst of Dredlock Rockstar, who had trailed Howard Hughes throughout.    

Dredlock Rockstar, who was under the care of Markham’s wife Tamara on Friday night, is certainly an evergreen performer who has raced 162 times for 22 wins, 47 placings and $276,852 in prizemoney. For the record, Markham’s eight drives in Albany on Friday night resulted in two seconds, two thirds, one fourth, two fifths and an eighth placing.


$6000 bargain boosts earnings to $163,718

The fairytale story of Rock Me Over continued at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the six-year-old charged home to win the 2536m Westral Pace.

The WA-bred gelding certainly is proving one of the sport’s best bargain buys. Serpentine trainer Matt Scott and stable clients Tony Maguire and his son Ian outlaid $6000 to purchase Rock Me Over two years ago, and in 74 starts since then he has chalked up nine wins, 13 seconds and 12 thirds for earnings of $163,718.

He is a younger half-brother of star pacer and 2017 WA Derby winner Handsandwheels, who has amassed $666,739 in stakes from 28 wins and 26 placings from 83 starts.

Rock Me Over, a $12.70 chance, was driven in fine style by Shannon Suvaljko, who had the gelding handily placed in sixth position in the one-wide line while the polemarker and $19 chance Beach Skipper set the pace, with the $3.50 favourite Major Stare in the breeze.

Major Stare eventually got his nose in front 350m from home, but he was swamped in the closing stages by Rock Me Over and Power And Grace.

“People have been knocking Rock Me Over, but we just laughed,” said Scott. “He has paid a lot of bills.”


Ken Casellas

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