Emerging star Im Full of Excuses is a Cups specialist and he should maintain his unbeaten record in Cup events by proving the master of his eight harness racing rivals in the $50,000 RWWA Cup aton Friday night.
Owned by Merv Butterworth and to be driven byfor Oakford trainer , the lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9).
After winning at seven of his 21 starts in New Zealand, Im Full of Excuses has been a revelation in Western Australia, winning at eight of his ten starts in this State.
His WA wins included effortless victories at his three appearances in group 3 Cup events --- the Kalgoorlie Cup in September, the York Cup in November and the Northam Cup in January.
He has been freshened up since his most impressive triumph in the 2560m Northam Cup in which he started off the 30m mark and raced in tenth position before storming home with a brilliant three-wide burst from ninth at the bell to hit the front at the 350m mark and race away to defeat This Time Dylan by 10m at a 1.58.1 rate, with final quarters of 27.1sec. and 28.6sec.
He is a grand stayer and will be ideally suited over the 2536m of Friday night’s group 2 feature event. His final sections in 28.8sec. and 27.5sec. when he scored an easy win in the 2970m York Cup simply gave the opposition no hope of figuring in the finish.
Im Full of Excuses, a son of American stallion, has already been successful in a group 2 event, having won the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes over 2700m at Invercargill in April 2015. His maternal granddam Happy Hazel won two group 1 races in New Zealand, including the Great Northern Oaks by six lengths in April 1989, and she also won the group 2 Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park in May 1989.
Our Jimmy Johnstone, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond, looms as the main danger to Im Full of Excuses. He will start from barrier eight with Ryan Warwick in the sulky.
He will be making his first appearance for five weeks --- since he failed in the WA Pacing Cup, wilting from seventh (three wide) at the bell to eleventh behind Chicago Bull.
But his form before that was excellent, finishing third behind Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca in the Fremantle Cup and third behind Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull in the 2130m Village Kid Pace after racing without cover for most of the journey.
His most recent success was in the 2569m Bunbury Cup when he rated 1.55.4 in beating Mynameskenny and Rub of the Green in November.
The Debbie Padberg-trained El Machine will be attempting to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. He was a 35/1 outsider when he started from the inside of the back line and Michael Tenardi brought him from three back on the pegs with a well-timed burst to win easily from Cyamach and Ti Amo Franco 12 months ago.
Since then the WA-bred eight-year-old has raced 25 times without success. However, he caught the eye last Friday night when he trailed the pacemaker Red Salute and finished strongly to be second, just a neck behind the winner Major Reality in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park.
Chris Voak has been engaged to drive El Machine, replacing Shannon Suvaljko, who is under suspension. Voak drove El Machine when he won the Village Kid Sprint by a half-head from Uppy Son at Northam in January 2015.
Shardons Rocket, an evergreen 12-year-old will start from barrier four and Lauren Jones is expected to be in search of getting to the front in the early stages. This will be the gelding’s 296th start. He was favourite at 5/2 on in a moderate field over 1730m at Gloucester Park mon Tuesday evening when he paced roughly at the start, worked hard in the breeze, took a narrow lead 120m from home and finished second to fast-finishing outsider Canyouseeme.
Byford trainer Peter Anderson will be represented by Bronze Seeker and Lisharry, sprightly veterans who are racing with wonderful enthusiasm.
Bronze Seeker is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven. But he will be driven conservatively and should be able to unwind a typical powerful finishing burst. He will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who replaces Lewis, who has opted for Im Full of Excuses. Hall has handled Bronze Seeker only twice in his 156-start career for a fourth at Gloucester Park in February 2015 and a fourth at Bunbury in May 2015.
Bronze Seeker, who has won at two of his past five starts, was most impressive last Friday night when he was last in the field of nine with 300m to travel before flooding home, out wide, to finish third behind Major Reality and El Machine.
Lisharry (Nathan Turvey) came home strongly from seventh at the bell to be fifth in the same race. He will start from the No. 5 barrier this week and Anderson is hoping the nine-year-old will improve on his unplaced efforts in the past two RWWA Cups.
Lisharry was an unlucky tenth behind Pacific Warrior in the 2015 RWWA Cup when he was hampered by a punctured tyre on his sulky and then was badly blocked for a clear passage in the final circuit behind the tiring Uppy Son. In last year’s Cup he started from barrier seven, was eleventh at the bell and was blocked for a run in the final stages when seventh behind El Machine.