Outstanding harness racing driverhas been engaged to drive smart five-year-old Copagrin in the $21,000 Slater Gartrell Richard Henry Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
West Swan trainer and part-owner John Guagliardo opted for Woodley after the gelding’s recent regular reinsman Callan Suvaljko was suspended for 16 days for causing interference in a race at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Woodley has not driven Copagrin in any of his 60 starts which have produced 15 wins, 13 placings and $134,077 in prizemoney. He will be the tenth driver to have handled the versatile pacer in a race.
Copagrin, who will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins on Friday night, was driven by Suvaljko on a stay of proceedings at Bunbury last Saturday night when the gelding was most impressive in scoring an easy victory and setting a track record rate of 1.55.8 over 2100m. Copagrin started from barrier four on the back line and thundered home from seventh at the bell to beat Aristocratic Glow by two lengths. The final 1200m was covered in 1min. 26.2sec.
This followed Copagrin’s convincing all-the-way victory over Lord Lombo in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park nine nights earlier.
Copagrin will start from barrier three in Friday night’s 1730m event, with speedy pacers and noted frontrunners in Paramedic and Real Hammer drawn on his inside.
Real Hammer is one of the fastest beginners in the State and Chris Voak is certain to attempt to burst past the polemarker Paramedic in the early stages and take up the running. This would leave Woodley with the option of rating Copagrin in the breeze or restraining the gelding to take a sit.
Real Hammer has just joined the Ross Olivieri stable and he made his first appearance for the Oakford trainer in the race won by Copagrin in Bunbury last Saturday night. He started from barrier five and had many admirers. However, the tyre of his nearside sulky wheel deflated soon after the start and Chris Voak retired the gelding from the race.
Famous Alchemist, a brilliant sprinter in the Serpentine stables of Gary Hall sen., looks one of Copagrin’s main dangers, even from out wide at No. 6 on the front line. She worked hard in the breeze before winning the Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday of last week, beating Maggies Mystery and rating 1.54.4 over the 1684m journey.
The consistent Lord Lombo is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line which is made up of quality performers in Crombie, Pacific Warrior, Mysta Magical Mach and This Time Dylan.
Crombie has not been successful for 26 months, but his past couple of efforts have been most encouraging --- a strong-finishing fourth behind Copagin at Gloucester Park and his fourth behind Might Be Luck in a 2500m stand at Harvey in which he started off the 40m mark and raced without cover for much of the way.
Nine-year-old Mysta Magical Mach, an equine millionaire, will be reappearing after a ten-week absence, but he appears to be facing a stern task from the outside of the back line.
by Ken Casellas