Day At The Track

Burch has Sergeant Oats in fine form

08:57 AM 17 Jun 2016 NZST
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Sergeant Oats.jpg
Sergeant Oats
Jodie Hallows

Young Hopeland Harness Racing trainer Courtney Burch, fresh from a double at Northam on Tuesday night, has bright prospects of maintaining her winning form with promising two-year-old Sergeant Oats in the $25,000 Gloucester Motel and Restaurant Pace for Westsired colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Sergeant Oats, to be driven by Morgan Woodley, has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier in a field of nine in the 2130m event.

The Rich And Spoilt gelding has won in good style at Narrogin (1823m) and Bunbury (in 1.56.8 over 1609m) at his past two starts. Purchased for $9000 at the 2015 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale, Sergeant Oats has earned $23,495 from his two wins and four seconds from eight starts.

He is a full-brother to four-year-old Captain Oats, a $6500 yearling who has raced 28 times for eight wins and ten placings for earnings of $84,241.

Sergeant Oats began speedily from the No. 4 barrier when he set the pace and won from Back To The Beach at Narrogin on April 30 and then he started from the back line and finished strongly to win by a neck from Heza Head Honcho at Bunbury on May 7. Since then he contested a two-horse trial over 2100m at Bunbury on Wednesday of last week when he set the pace and rated 1.579 in winning by 40 lengths from Iam The Real Thing, with final quarters in  29sec. and 29.3sec.

The only other winner in Friday night’s race is the Robbie Williams-trained Itz Dynamo, who was an all-the-way winner at his debut at Northam in early March. He was placed once from his only other three starts, finishing a close and encouraging second to The Beachcomber over 1730m at Gloucester Park.

Then he finished gamely when a sound fourth behind Allmightyjoelouis in the group 1 Sales Classic on April 22. He will start out wide at barrier seven on Friday night.

Woodley gave punters a good lead when he opted to drive Sergeant Oats in preference to the John Graham-trained pair of Combat Crusade and Enemy Lines. He has driven Combat Crusade in each of his two starts for a first-up third behind Im Rockaria at Narrogin and ninth behind Adda Courage at Bunbury. He has been in the sulky for Enemy Lines’ three unplaced efforts at Pinjarra.

Combat Crusade, who finished a 4m second to Luvthecuz in a 2100m trial at Bunbury on June 1, will be driven by Nathan Turvey and Chris Lewis has been engaged for Enemy Lines.

The 27-year-old Burch is enjoying another successful season and is in third place on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table with 69 winners and 104 placings from 375 starters. She had four runners at Northam on Tuesday night this week when she won with Blacknsweet Adda and Where Dreams Grow and finished second with Vincenzo Peruggia and Im Despicable.

Gary Hall sen. leads the trainers’ list with 161 winners and 134 placings from 551 starters, with Greg and Skye Bond in second place with 159 winners and 216 placings from 772 starters.

Ken Casellas

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