Day At The Track

Bungalow Bill looks a good bet

06:29 PM 18 Aug 2016 NZST
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Greg Bond the trainer of Bungalow Bill
Greg Bond the trainer of Bungalow Bill

New Zealand-bred Bettor's Delight four-year-old Bungalow Bill was gallant in defeat when second to Mattjestic Star last Friday night and Greg Bond, who trains the harness racing gelding in partnership with his wife Skye, considers he will go one better and win the $20,500 The Seppelt Long Drive Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Bungalow Bill, to be driven by Ryan Bell, has drawn perfectly at No. 1 in the 2130m event and Bond declared: “He’ll definitely hold up and lead and prove very hard to run down. I was very happy with his effort last week when he started from the outside in the field of nine over 1730m.”

Bungalow Bill raced three wide in the early stages and then worked hard in the breeze outside Calais before taking a narrow lead 350m from home. He was overhauled 60m from the post by the fast-finishing Mattjestic Star, who rated 1.55.4.

The lightly-raced Bungalow Bill (20 starts for nine wins and fiver placings) is one of three Bond runners in Friday night’s event, the others being Assassinator (barrier three) and Holy Grail (six).

“Assassinator and Holy Grail will need luck, but are capable of being placed,” Bond said.

Royal Mach, to be driven by Chris Lewis for Collie trainer David Hunter, appears Bungalow Bill’s chief rival from the favourable No. 2 barrier. Another Vinnie, a smart all-the-way winner last Friday night, should be prominent, despite starting from the outside of the front line. And Rycroft, trained by Mike Reed and a winner at two of his past three starts, will have admirers from the inside of the back line.

The Bond camp also has good winning prospects with Ohoka Squire (Penfold Max Classic) and Risk (third heat of the Spring Into Summer Schrader Pace).

Ohoka Squire ended a losing sequence of ten when Mitchell Miller drove him in fine style to score an impressive victory at a 1.54.8 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night. The seven-year-old sustained a powerful three-wide burst from the rear to hit the front 270m from home. He then drew away from the opposition.

Ohoka Squire has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier on Friday night and Miller is expected to make use of the gelding’s gate speed and attempt an all-the-way win over the 2130m journey. Before Tuesday night’s success, Ohoka Squire’s previous win was when he led from the No. 1 barrier and beat Znana and Major Dancer over 1730m at Gloucester Park last November.

Risk will be handled by Ryan Bell from the No. 2 barrier on Friday night and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old looks hard to beat. He made a successful Australian debut when he began badly from 40m at Northam on Tuesday of last week and raced in the breeze in the middle stages before winning by a head from Tuapeka Kahu over 2560m.

“He’s a nice type of horse who raced in good company in New Zealand --- in the Messenger, Taylor Mile and the Jewels --- against some good horses,” Bond said.

“He has impressed us and won in good style, first-up at Northam. He was quite clear (of the opposition) on the corner. Ryan (Warwick) sat up on him and the horse took advantage of that and switched off a bit. That won’t happen again. I expect him to be pretty hard to beat on Friday night.”

Ken Casellas

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