Day At The Track

David Hercules returns to action

06:00 AM 16 Dec 2016 NZDT
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David Hercules
David Hercules out of retirement to continue his fabulous career.
Jodie Hallows (Paceway Photos)

David Hercules, one of the best pacers ever bred in Western Australia, has made a remarkable recovery from a serious tendon injury and has come out of retirement to continue his fabulous harness racing career after an absence of 17 months.

The equine millionaire, now a ten-year-old, will return to action when he starts from the outside in a field of nine in race seven at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a $23,000 event over 2130m which features Cyamach, an all-the-way winner of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship consolation over 2936m last Friday night.

“He’s fully fit and ready to go,” said breeder Steve Johnson, whose wife Jeneen races the gelding in partnership with David Botha.

David Hercules last appeared when he started at 2/1 on and raced in the breeze outside the pacemaker Soho Highroller before wilting to fifth behind the fast-finishing My Hard Copy over 2130m at Gloucester Park on July 10, 2015.

He was retired by trainer David Thompson two months later with a wonderful record of 104 starts for 39 wins, 18 seconds and 15 thirds for earnings of $1,259,019. His wins included four in group 1 events, six at group 2 level and four in group 3 races.

Purchased as a yearling in 2008 for $15,000, David Hercules has won 27 times at Gloucester Park. Thirteen of those wins were over 2130m, the distance of this week’s event. He was named the WA Horse of the Year for the 2014-15 season at the WA Standardbred Breeders Association awards night after his victories that season included the Fremantle and Pinjarra Cups and the Village Kid Sprint.

David Hercules, a versatile performer with wonderful natural speed, has overcome many setbacks in an up-and-down career. He almost died after suffering from a virus in Melbourne following his unplaced effort in the Breeders Crown for two-year-olds. And his career was in serious doubt when he was badly affected by a soft palate breathing problem as a five-year-old. He recovered after surgery in Melbourne.

Thompson has given David Hercules a slow and steady program in his comeback campaign, culminating with impressive victories in four and five-horse trials over 2150m at Byford on the past three Sundays.

In the first of those trials, on November 27, David Hercules rated 1.57.2 and beat Our Regal Ideal by 2m. A week later he beat Bettor Pack A Pistol by almost two lengths after dashing over the final two 400m sections in 29.7sec. and 27.4sec. Then last Sunday he rated 1.56.8, with final quarters in 29sec. and 27.4sec., and defeated Kiwi Legend by five and half lengths.

He was handled in those trials by his regular reinsman Morgan Woodley, who will find things on Friday night considerably tougher against eight rivals, most of whom have been racing in good form. However, David Hercules represents the class in the field and he has bright prospects of making a successful comeback.

Cyamach and Waylade, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen., competed meritoriously during the Interdominion championship series and they will have many admirers. Gary Hall jun. will drive Cyamach from barrier three and he is sure to be anxious to burst to an early lead. However, Cyamach is not certain to get to the front in the early stages, with noted frontrunner Red Salute drawn inside of him at barrier two.

Red Salute, prepared at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, set the pace when a sound second to the talented Delightful Offer over 2100m at Bunbury two starts ago and he was an all-the-way winner over 2130m at Gloucester Park three starts before that.

Waylade (Clint Hall) finished strongly to win from brilliant stablemate Beaudiene Boaz over 2130m at Gloucester Park five starts ago and he maintained that form during the Inters series with a third behind Bling It On and a fourth behind Hectorjayjay.

Chris Voak will drive Mynameskenny for trainer John Oldroyd and though awkwardly drawn at barrier six the five-year-old cannot be underestimated. He has won at 20 of his 39 starts.

Drawn on his inside at barrier five is 12-year-old Shardons Rocket, a veteran of 286 starts who continues to race with commendable spirit. Another evergreen pacer is nine-year-old Lisharry, who caught the eye when he finished strongly to be third behind VC Manoeuvre and Delightful Offer last Friday night.

Ken Casellas

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