Champion harness racing reinsman, who is in peak form, has given punters an important lead by opting to drive Miss Atomic in preference to Loving You in the $30,000 Clipsal And Schneider Electric Four-Year-Old Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The two West Australian-bred mares are prepared by former Victorian trainer Clive Dalton at owner-breeder Neven Botica's property at Herron, 60km north of Bunbury.
Dalton also has a third runner in the Victorian-bred Diamonds A Blaze, who is also owned by Botica.
has been engaged to drive Loving You, who has been handled by Lewis at her past four starts for a second, two thirds and a fourth placing.
Lewis has driven Miss Atomic only twice in her 24-start career of nine wins and eight placings --- when eighth behind Four Legged Frenzy at Gloucester Park last August and at Bunbury last Saturday week when she started at 6/1 from the No. 6 barrier and finished strongly from eighth at the bell to win narrowly from Robyns C C at a 1.58.6 rate over 2100m.
Dalton's prospects in Friday night's event improved sharply when Miss Atomic drew the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line, with Loving You favourably drawn at barrier two. Diamonds A Blaze faces a tougher task from the No. 6 barrier. However, her task is far from impossible after running home strongly to finish a close second at each of her past two starts, to Hooza Clever Dan at Bunbury and behind Wilkins Lucinda at Gloucester Park last Saturday night.
Diamonds A Blaze shows good promise and has had 30 starts for five wins, six placings and $34,511 in prizemoney.
Miss Atomic has raced 24 times for nine wins, eight placings and $54,771, while Loving You has earned $79,762 from eight wins and 15 placings from 41 starts.
The race sets up an intriguing situation, with Miss Atomic and Loving You outstanding frontrunners. Miss Atomic has led throughout in four of her victories and has made most of the running in three of her other wins. Loving You has led all the way in five of her eight wins.
While Miss Atomic and Loving You will be strongly fancied, so too will be Korobeit Angel, the best-performed mare in the event, with an M2 assessment. The former Victorian performer, who is trained by Gary Hall sen., is nicely drawn on the inside of the back line and should be in a commanding position throughout the 2130m event.
Forrestdale trainers Greg andalso hold a strong hand in the race. They will be represented by Am Opulent, Jungle Genie and Showstopper.
Am Opulent possesses sparkling gate speed and it would come as no surprise ifurges the New Zealand-bred mare forward from the No. 4 barrier when the mobile releases the field of 12. She led from barrier seven and won over 2185m at Pinjarra four starts ago.
Jungle Genie fared badly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the back line. But she is a talented mare who has won at 13 of her 38 starts. She had no luck at Gloucester Park last Friday night when she started from barrier five and was restrained to the rear. The slow early pace told against her and she did very well to come from eighth with a three-wide burst from the 950m mark to finish second to the pacemaker Arousing over 2130m when the final 800m was covered in 57.5sec.
Bettor Dreams, trained at Hopeland by, cannot be underestimated. She has won at ten of her 26 starts and could land in a handy position from barrier three on the back line.
Im Themightyquinn set for win No. 56
A wide barrier at No. 6 on the front line should prove no obstacle for champion pacer Im Themightyquinn to chalk up his 56th victory by proving too strong for his eight rivals in the $21,000 Clipsal Powerhouse Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
A win would certainly help to erase some of the memories of the shock defeat at the hands of the highly-talented David Hercules in a 2130m event last Friday night.
Im Themightyquinn was magnificent in defeat. He raced without cover for the first 400m and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. But a modest lead time of 37.6sec. and a leisurely first quarter of the final mile in 30.9sec. played into the hands of David Hercules, who revealed explosive speed in the final circuit when he sprinted over the final sections in 27.3sec. and 27.6sec.
David Hercules was four lengths ahead of Im Themightyquinn at the 600m mark and he increased the lead to five lengths with 400m to travel. Im Themightyquinn fought on with great determination and was gallant in defeat. His task was virtually impossible.
The 2536m of this week's event will suit Im Themightyquinn, who has raced over 2506m and 2536m at Gloucester Park 22 times for 13 wins, seven seconds, one third and one sixth placing. His trainer Gary Hall sen. holds a strong hand with four of the nine runners. He will also be represented by My Hard Copy, Our Arlington and Toretto.
My Hard Copy, an up-and-coming four-year-old, is in sparkling form, with three wins and a close second at his four starts since resuming from a spell. A winner at 14 of his 40 starts, My Hard Copy is a noted frontrunner who should be capable of getting to an early lead from the No. 2 barrier, with seven-year-old Robbery (placed at only six of his past 20 starts) on his inside.
Stablemates Lord Lombo (barrier three) and Leda McNally (five) possess good gate speed, but are unlikely to cross My Hard Copy in the early stages. Both pacers can also unwind powerful finishing bursts.
Our Arlington caught the eye last Friday night when he was eighth in the middle stages and charged home, three wide, from sixth at the bell to be second to My Hard Copy in a fast-run 1730m event.
Toretto should enjoy an ideal passage this week after starting from the inside of the back line. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old, a close second to stablemate Hokonui Ben in the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup in January, resumed after a spell last Friday night when he worked hard without cover before wilting to last behind David Hercules. He is sure to be vastly improved by the run.
Bettor Party looks the best bet
Punters should go home on good terms with themselves after backing the winner of the final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
They will get a great run for their money if they support four-year-old Bettor Party in the 1730m Clipsal And Schneider Electric Westbred Pathway Pace.
Bettor Party, trained by Greg and, has the natural speed and ability to overcome the serious disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (seven) on the front line over the sprint journey.
He was awesome at Pinjarra on Monday when he started from the No. 2 barrier and gave a dazzling frontrunning display to win by two lengths from Blissfull Boy, rating 1.55.3 over 1684m after sprinting over the final 800m in a sizzling 55.3sec.
Bettor Party started from barrier six at his previous outing, over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he raced four wide for the first 400m and then three wide beforerestrained him to the rear after a lap.
Bettor Party was still 11th and last at the bell when he started a powerful three-wide move which ended with him finishing with great determination, seven wide, in the home straight, to finish second behind the frontrunner Paramedic.
looks certain to attempt an all-the-way win with noted frontrunner Say It Now, who will relish the No. 1 barrier. The Garry Butler-trained Atlastalone also is a speedy customer, who is well drawn at barrier three and is capable of a bold showing.
However, Say It Now (who has led at six of his ten wins) and Atlastalone lack the sheer brilliance of Bettor Party, who should carry too many guns over the final stages.
Robyns Raider suited in the stand
New Zealand-bred four-year-old Robyns Raider, the youngest runner in the 2503m Clipsal Lighting Handicap on Friday night, has excellent prospects of making a successful debut at Gloucester Park.
He will start from the outside of the front line and is an experienced standing-start campaigner, winning over 2600m at Addington and over 2700m at Gore before making an auspicious Australian debut by winning a 2116m stand at Pinjarra last Monday week.
Robyns Raider started from 30m at Pinjarra when he raced out wide early and then in the breeze before winning easily from Getaway Plan and his stablemate Melton Express after covering the final 800m in 56.7sec.
Robyns Raider, to be driven by, has had 34 starts for eight wins and ten placings and looks set for a bright career in Western Australia. He will not have tings all his own way on Friday night when he will clash with in-form standing-start specialists Finbar Abbey (20m) and Ohoka Courage (10m).
Finbar Abbey surged home from sixth at the bell to win by a length from the fast-finishing Ohoka Courage (eighth with a lap to travel) in as 2503m stand last Friday night.
The Bonds have two runners, Well Hello Dolly and Im Terrific, in the 1730m Schneider Acti 9 Pace, in which Black Aquila, a superb winner for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. last Friday night, will be all the rage. However, Well Hello Dolly (barrier one) and Im Terrific (No. 2) are capable of surprising. Each is a smart frontrunner.
Well Hello Dolly has been unplaced at her five starts since resuming after a spell, but she will appreciate the sprint journey. She set the pace before fading over the final 400m to finish seventh (and last) behind Conniving Major Dave and This Time Dylan in considerably stronger company over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She ruined her chances by pulling hard and the stewards warned the mare's connections that she was on her last chance to race competitively.
Im Terrific set the pace before wilting to sixth behind Reuben Brogden over 2536m last Friday night. He will appreciate the shorter distance this week.
by Ken Casellas