Day At The Track

Prentice opts for Major Reality

08:04 AM 04 Jun 2014 NZST
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Justin Prentice
Justin Prentice - has opted to drive Major Reality.

Boyanup harness racing trainer Justin Prentice is finding it difficult to separate Major Reality and Quite A Delight in the $100,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but he is leaning slightly towards Major Reality because of her better barrier.

"At this stage I'll be driving Major Reality," he said on Tuesday night. "I haven't spoken to the owners, but purely on the barrier draw I'll probably go for Major Reality."

Major Reactor will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Quite A Delight out at No. 6.

Prentice drove Major Reality and Quite A Delight when they scored easy victories at their debuts in heats of the classic on Tuesday of last week. Major Reality was untroubled to lead from the No. 1 barrier and rated 1.59.1 over 1730m when she beat Is There A Dream by nine lengths.

Quite A Delight rated 1.58.9 when she won her heat by two lengths from Straittothehilton. She started from the outside of the front line and was restrained back to last before she started a three-wide move approaching the bell. She moved to the breeze at the 450m before taking the lead 200m later.

"Major Reality worked super this morning and has improved since her heat run," Prentice said. "She worked with an older horse and left him for dead. Quite A Delight just went steady this morning.

"Major Reality is a big, gross filly, a bit immature looking, but she is powerful and is in a 59 and a half inch hopple. Quite A Delight is a little pitter-patter thing in a 55-inch hopple. But she's got a massive heart and lungs and her recovery is unreal. She can do so much work and she just keeps running.

"Both are very good chances, but obviously it helps Major Reactor drawn at No. 3. Hopefully we can get her to the front. We will be doing what we can to get to the front."

Prentice is hoping to go one better in the Diamond Classic than he did two years ago when he finished second with Bettor Dreams behind stablemate Eagle Rox. Both fillies were prepared by his father Kim. Last year, Justin drove his own nomination The Parade into fourth place behind Highest Royalty.

There are many chances in this year's classic, with Victorian reinsman Michael Stanley expecting an improved performance from Soho Tokyo, whose eight starts have yielded two wins, four placings and stakes of $82,308.

The 33-year-old Stanley had his first drive in Western Australia on Tuesday of last week when Soho Tokyo was a 3/1 on favourite in her heat in which she set the pace from barrier one, hung out and was overhauled in the final 25m when a close second to Massive Attack.

Soho Tokyo, who arrived in WA about a month ago and entered Glenn Elliott's Northam stables, gave a sample of her class at her previous start when she finished powerfully to be a neck second to Queen of Pop in the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold final for two-year-old fillies at Menangle.

"She has been in the top Echelon back home (in Victoria) and in Sydney," Stanley said. "She was fairly new when she raced at Gloucester Park. She had a good look around and didn't race tractably, which normally is her best asset. She is such a professional, but she didn't show that in that race. Hopefully that experience will sharpen her up for the final.

"It was a shame that she hung. Normally she lugs in a bit, if anything, so it was a real surprise that she wanted to run out. That was her first race on an 800m track. She is trained round a half-mile track at home in Ballarat, but that is a lot different to race pressure."

Gary Hall sen., trainer of Massive Attack, said he gave his filly little chance after drawing the outside of the back line in the field of twelve.

Chris Lewis, who has won the Diamond Classic with Dilingers Reign in 2005 and Sensational Gabby in 2011, will have many admirers in this year's classic in which he will handle the promising Sea Me Smile from the coveted No. 1 barrier. Sea Me Smile, trained by his wife Debra, has started from wide barriers at her three starts, for a win at Pinjarra and second placings at Bunbury and Gloucester Park.

In her heat last week Sea Me Smile was restrained tom last from the outside barrier before Lewis sent her forward, three wide, after 400m. She raced in the breeze over the final 1200m and finished second, three lengths behind the pacemaker Tricky Styx, who rated 1.59.1.

Tricky Styx, trained at Northam by Jesse Moore, has excellent ability and has impressed in winning at four of her seven starts. She unwound a powerful finish to win the $50,000 Champagne Classic early last month.


Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has declared Soho Lennon "unbeatable" in the Del Basso Smallgoods Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night after the gelding's dazzling victory at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.

Gary Hall jun. drove Soho Lennon at Pinjarra when he set a sizzling pace and reeled off quarters in 28.2sec., 29.8sec., 27.5sec. and 27.3sec. to beat Simply Susational by five lengths, rating 1.53.3 which set a track record for a three-year-old over 1684m.

Robert Watson, breeder and managing owner of Soho Lennon, requested that Victorian reinsman Michael Stanley drive the talented youngster in Friday night's 2536m event in which he will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in the field of eight.

Stanley drove Soho Lennon in all his 14 runs in Victoria as a two and three-year-old for wins at Ararat, Bendigo and Geelong.

"Soho Lennon is a very good horse and he is right up there with Elegant Christian and Machtu," Hall said. That is praise indeed. Elegant Christian, trained by Hall, has won at six of his eight starts, including the group 3 Caduceus Club Classic and group 2 Western Gateway Pace. Elegant Christian also finished fourth behind Three Blind Mice in the group 1 WA Derby, in which stablemate Machtu finished third.

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice does not agree with Hall's assessment that Friday night's event will be a one-act affair and he gives Mista Rush a very good winning chance, saying: "On pure ability I think he is right up there with the best three-year-olds in the State.

"Barrier five is neither here nor there and I'm not one hundred per cent sure what we'll do. Mista Rush has got lightning gate speed, but Ultimate Major and Back On Board, on his inside, are also quick.

"The main thing is to get Mista Rush around this track a bit better. At his latest start he just battled around the last bend. So I have made a little adjustment to his shoeing. I want to get him spot on for the Westbred races in just under a month."

Ultimate Major, trained at Capel by Andrew De Campo, has won at four of his eight starts and is a good frontrunner who will be suited from the No. 1 barrier, with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Ultimate Major led and won over 2500m at Bunbury two starts ago and then was a fast-finishing close second to Three Kings over 2100m on the same track last Saturday night.

The Michael Brennan-trained Back On Board will be driven by Gary Hall jun. from barrier three. The Christian Cullen gelding has made most of the running to win twice from his past three starts on country tracks.

Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond also hold a strong hand in the race with three smart three-year-olds in Zacharia, Bettor Offer and Black Mr Mach.


New Zealand-bred five-year-old Selkie has improved in leaps and bounds since entering the Oakford stables of Ross Olivieri recently and she makes strong appeal in the first qualifying heat of the Little Caesars Pizzas Lombardo Pace for Mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Punters will be keen to support her after watching her come from eighth on the pegs at the bell with a scorching late burst, out wide, to finish third behind Famous Alchemist and Korobeit Angel in the 1730m WASBA Breeders Stakes last Friday week.

Two weeks before that, at her first start for Olivieri, Selkie gave an impressive frontrunning display to score an easy victory over Salliwood and Leda McNally in the 2503m Race For Roses.

On Friday night Selkie will start from the No. 2 barrier in the field of seven in the 2130m event and she is likely to be involved in an early battle for ascendancy with the polemarker Maggies Mystery, who has a losing sequence of 18, but is a capable frontrunner with good prospects of causing an upset.

Maggies Mystery's most recent win was early in January when she set a brisk pace and beat Rocky Marciano and Heez Orl Black at a 1.56 rate over 1730m.

Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has two in-form runners in Askmenow and Korobeit Angel. Gary Hall jun. will handle Askmenow from barrier three and Lauren Jones will drive Korobeit Angel from barrier six.

Am Opulent, from barrier four, also has sound claims for trainers Greg and Skye Bond. She began speedily from the No. 7 barrier and set them pace before winning from Capricorn Monique and Ticket To Nowhere over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.


Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. favours My Hard Copy to beat stablemates Slick Chapel and Heez Orl Black in the 2130m Top Cut Meats Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

But while he is confident of achieving a trifecta result, he believes little separates the three stablemates.

"I lean towards My Hard Copy only because of the barrier draw," he said. My Hard Copy, who finished a fighting close second to Slick Chapel in the final of the 2130m Pure Steel Pace last Friday night, will be driven by Gary Hall jun., who replaces his brother Clint, who received a nine-day suspension for causing interference in a race at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.

My Hard Copy is favourably drawn at No. 2 on the front line, with Heez Orl Black drawn the pole and Slick Chapel barrier two on the back line.

Slick Chapel dashed to an early lead and sprinted home in a sizzling 55.5sec. when he defeated My Hard Copy by one metre last Friday night. My Hard Copy, who trailed Slick Chapel, fought on with great determination.


Letitia Barron drove a patient copybook race to land her first winner at Gloucester Park when rank outsider Mistress Bliss finished solidly to beat Coltrain Blues in the 1730m Retravision Pace for mares on Tuesday night.

Mistress Bliss, trained at Pinjarra by Heather Herbert, started from the outside of the front line and was a $61.70 chance.

Barron got Mistress Bliss away smartly and quickly angled the five-year-old into the prime one-out, one-back position, following Disturbia, who was left in the breeze after being fastest into stride from the No. 4 barrier, but then being unable to cross to the pegs in front of polemarker Hilmore Disco.

Barron bided her time before easing Mistress Bliss three wide 220m from home. Mistress Bliss burst to the front 120m from the finish and went on to beat Coltrain Blues by two metres, rating 1.58.4.


Star four-year-old Alta Christiano is still on track to travel to Queensland to contest feature events next month after extensive X-ray examinations cleared him of any damage to his hind legs.

Alta Christiano was a shock last-minute scratching from the Pure Steel final at Gloucester Park last Friday night after reinsman Gary Hall jun. was concerned over his pacing action during the preliminary.

"He's good," a relieved trainer Gary Hall sen. said on Tuesday. "The X-rays revealed nothing and it looks like he's got a bruised hoof. The farrier reckons it is a bruised hoof and I tend to agree with him. He hasn't missed any work and he's still going to Queensland."

Hall said that champion Im Themightyquinn, narrow winner of the $50,000 Pinjarra Cup, on Monday afternoon, was also on track for a trip to Brisbane.

"It was a sensational run by Quinny in the Cup," Hall said. "He ran the half (800m) before the final quarter in 54 seconds, which is pretty quick, three wide. He will probably have one more run before heading to Queensland."

by Ken Casellas


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