Awesome Tricky Styx is ready to fire

09:06 AM 09 Jul 2014 NZST
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Tricky Styx.jpg
The connections of Tricky Styx.

Veteran Northam horseman Jesse Moore describes his star filly Tricky Syyx as "simply awesome" and is confident she will be capable of overcoming a back-line barrier and proving too good for her ten rivals in the $35,000 Central Fruit Sales Gold Bracelet at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Widely regarded as one of the finest mentors of juvenile pacers in Western Australia over the past 40 years, Moore has no hesitation in declaring that Tricky Styx is "a long way in front of any fillies I've ever had."'

"It's awesome what she can do," he said. "Against older horses on the track, she can just squat on them and then blow them away."

Tricky Styx, brilliant winner of the $50,000 Champagne Classic in May and the $100,000 Diamond Classic last month, has drawn the No. 2 barrier on the back line and will clash with several smart, in-form fillies, including Straittothehilton (winner of the $100,000 Westbred Classic at her most recent appearance), Sea Me Smile, Delightful Jade, Massive Attack, Racketeer Reactor and Major Reality.

"The back-line draw probably suits her style of racing," Moore said. "She just likes to sit up a bit and get home. The barrier is actually better than it looks. I'm happy with her and she couldn't have worked any better than she did this (Tuesday) morning. So there's no excuses."

Moore, who prepared 12/1 chance Fidelius Charm when she started from a wide barrier and charged home from sixth at the bell to get up and gain a last-stride victory by a nose over Sheer Royalty in the 2008 Gold Bracelet, said that the filly had suffered from foot soreness after her victory in the Diamond Classic on June 6.

"She had a couple of corns coming on her heels," he said. "So we put some different shoes on her and she has responded well. I took her to the trials at Byford last Sunday week because she hadn't raced for about three weeks. I thought I had better just check how she was going."

Race reinsman Aiden De Campo travelled from Capel to handle the filly in the 2150m trial in which she started out wide at barrier six and was restrained to the rear before unwinding a dazzling finishing burst to score an effortless victory by three and a half lengths from smart three-year-old gelding Hugh Victor. After slow early quarters Tricky Styx dashed over the final 400m in 28.2sec. and rated 2.2.8.

"She was put in a trial for two-year-olds, but there were a couple in the trial who were there just to qualify," Moore said. "So I took her out and put her in a trial for older horses. She sat back at the rear and when Aiden let her go she just went whoosh. She took off leaving the back straight and she was in front before they straightened up. Aiden was more than happy with the trial."

The 22-year-old de Campo is hoping for a change of fortune after driving the 3/1 on favourite Im Bella Jay into second place behind Generally Outspoken in the Gold Bracelet 12 months ago. Im Bella Jay raced three back on the pegs and was blocked for a clear passage until late, when she rattled home to fail by a length to overhaul the pacemaker.

Capel trainer Andrew De Campo, father of Aiden, is hopeful that his stylish WA-bred filly Delightful Jade will give him his third success in the classic, after having trained and driven Kiwaussie Girl (1995) and Express Fire (1999) for wins in the race. Delightful Jade is a speedy frontrunner who has won six times from nine starts and will be fancied from the No. 4 barrier on the front line.

Chris Lewis is delighted at the progress of Sea Me Smile, who is favourably drawn at barrier two on the front line. Sea Me Smile, trained by Debra Lewis, won for the third time from seven starts when she finished fast to beat highly-regarded colt Mister Ardee at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Lewis has driven a record six winners of the Gold Bracelet. He has been successful with Smooth Sensation (1991), Flames And Flowers (1997), Lady Maryclare (2002), Vinnies Sister (2003), Fidelius Charm (2008) and Sensational Gabby (2011).

Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. will handle Massive Attack from barrier three on the back line and he hopes to cause an upset like he did when he drove 18/1 chance Generally Outspoken to victory in last year's event.

"She wouldn't know what a good barrier is," he said. "With a bit more luck with draws she could have won about $150,000 at her past three starts, instead of about $18,000."

VC Manoeuvre can turn the tables

Leading trainer Gary Hall sen., who is in Brisbane with Im Themightyquinn, dominates the EPT Fruit And Vegetable Merchants Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with five of the 12 runners and ace reinsman Gary Hall jun. predicts that stablemates VC Manoeuvre and Soho Lennon will fight out the finish of the 1730m sprint.

Hall jun. will drive VC Manoeuvre and his elder brother Clint will handle Soho Lennon. Hall jun. said that both geldings are richly talented and that he considered that VC Manoeuvre was capable of turning the tables on his stablemate.

In a thrilling spectacle in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week Soho Lennon caused a minor upset when he charged home to defeat VC Manoeuvre at a 1.56.1 rate over 2130m, with final sections in 28.9sec. and 27.2sec.

VC Manoeuvre raced in the one-out, one-back position before bursting to the front with 470m to travel. Soho Lennon, who trailed his stablemate throughout, issued a strong challenge 250m from the post before getting to the front 150m later.

VC Manoeuvre is badly drawn at barrier four on the back line and Soho Lennon is even worse off from the outside of the back line.

"However, I still think that they should run 1-2," Hall jun. said. "But in saying that, the percentage of winners from those barriers (11 and 12) over 1730m is really low. It's really tough, but they should provide the quinella, barring bad luck.

"They've both got a bit of everything, a bit of toughness and they are quick, as everyone saw last start when I didn't think that Lennon would get over VC Manoeuvre. I didn't think that he actually did after the runs we had. I was a bit surprised, but it was hard to be disappointed with Manoeuvre.

"These two horses are probably not far off Elegant Christian and Machtu, if at all. They're both really good and I think at this stage that VC Manoeuvre has probably got more improvement in him, taking into account greenness and the way he races."

Stablemates Themightynadal (Kim Prentice), Avalon Bromac (Lauren Jones) and Tanaka Eagle (Robbie Williams) are in sound form, but do not appear capable of seriously testing the better-performed VC Manoeuvre and Soho Lennon.

Prentice hoping for a birthday gift

Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice has sound prospects of celebrating his birthday by driving consistent eight-year-old This Time Dylan to victory in the $21,000 Quality Produce Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Prentice, who turns 26 on Saturday, drove the Michael Brennan-trained gelding into third place behind Hokonui Ben and Toretto in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January and then guided him to victory over Uppy Son in the 2662m Narrogin Cup the following month.

The New Zealand-bred This Time Dylan will start from barrier four on the back line on Friday night, but he is sure to appreciate quite a drop in class after racing four back on the pegs and fighting on to finish fourth behind the brilliant David Hercules in the 2536m Winter Cup last Friday night.

This Time Dylan, who is capable of unwinding a power-packed finishing burst, is an M9-class performer and has a decided class edge over all his rivals with the exception of Ima Rocket Star (with an M7 classification) and Rocket Reign (M7), a ten-year-old in the twilight of his career and boasting a losing sequence of 17.

Ima Rocket Star, making his third appearance after a spell, will start from the outside of the front line, but cannot be disregarded after running home solidly from three back on the pegs to finish third behind David Hercules and Please Release Me last Friday night.

The youngest runners in the race are five-year-olds Benjamin Banneker and Reuben Brogden, who both have winning prospects. Reuben Brogden impressed when he stormed home to win from Slick Chapel three starts ago.

Benjamin Banneker has been unplaced at his past ten starts and has a losing sequence of 19 this season after winning nine times from 19 starts the previous season. However, he will have admirers this week after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier.

"I'd like to think he will be prominent," said reinsman Gary Hall jun. "And from this draw he gets his chance. The numbers next to his name are terrible, but he's obviously better suited on the pace, so I'll be definitely be trying to hold up and take advantage of the draw."

Mighty Flying Thomas, placed only once from his past eight starts, has not enjoyed much luck in recent starts and even though somewhat awkwardly drawn at barrier four, he is capable of a bold showing. And, so too, is Lord Lombo.

Isaiah Artois to warm up for Golden Slipper

Speedy two-year-old Isaiah Artois will have his final warm-up for the $125,000 Golden Slipper on Friday week when he contests the Mercer Mooney Fruit And Vegetables Merchants Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His clash with other Slipper hopefuls, notably Mister Ardee, Assassinator, The Odd Lover and Artillery Major, should provide plenty of fireworks.

The David Thompson-trained Isaiah Artois is a noted frontrunner and Colin Brown is likely to attempt to get the Modern Art gelding to muster plenty of pace in a bid to get to an early lead from the No. 4 barrier. The three horses drawn on his inside possess good gate speed, but Isaiah Artois looks capable of sizzling to the front and dictating terms.

Mister Ardee (barrier seven) and The Odd Lover (No. 2 on the back line) have wonderful potential and loom as dangerous rivals. Mister Ardee has finished a close second to handy filly Sea Me Smile at his past two outings and he gives the impression that he will continue to improve.

He had a tough run, three wide early and then without cover before bursting past the pacemaker Assassin in the home straight and then being overhauled in the final few strides by Sea Me Smile last Friday night. Three wins and eight placings from 12 starts underline his consistency and punters cannot afford to underestimate him.

The Kim Prentice-trained The Odd Lover also looks set to fight out the finish. He was desperately unlucky in the $100,000 Pearl Classic on June 13 when he competed with a flat sulky tyre and was then seriously hampered when the tube became entangled in the axel. His previous form, three wins and a second, was outstanding.

by Ken Casellas

 

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