Day At The Track

Gloucester Park preview August 29th

09:58 AM 27 Aug 2014 NZST
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Courtesy Of Gloucester Park

Woodley to break through in August Cup

Morgan Woodley, who has driven a placegetter in three of the past four August Cups, has high hopes of breaking through for his first victory in the winter feature event by scoring with David Hercules in the $35,000 Curtin FM August Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

David Hercules, trained at Byford by David Thompson, has drawn fairly at barrier four on the front line, but is likely to be left in the breeze outside the likely pacemaker Northview Punter, who will start from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2536m event.

Trainer Gary Hall sen. conceded that he was slightly disappointed at Northview Punter's effort when second behind stablemate Our Arlington in a 2503m stand last Friday night. But his spirits were boosted after the random barrier draw.

David Hercules proved the master of Northview Punter three starts ago when he started from the No. 5 barrier and worked hard in the breeze before finishing strongly to beat the pacemaking Northview Punter by a half-length, rating 1.55.7 over 2130m.

David Hercules was gallant in defeat when fourth behind Reuben Brogden in a 1730m sprint last Friday night. He was at a significant disadvantage, starting from the outside of the back line. He settled at the rear before Woodley started a three-wide move 1100m from home. The seven-year-old sustained a strong effort to finish just under two lengths from the winner.

David Hercules had been most impressive in winning at his four previous starts (after resuming from a spell), winning twice each over 2130m and 2536m.

Friday night's event will be the 63rd running of the August Cup and Thompson is hoping that David Hercules will become just the eighth horse to complete the Winter Cup-August Cup double in the one season.

Those to have achieved this feat are Tavis (1975), Peter Anstey (1977), High Moore (1979), Preux Chevalier (1985), Manageable (1989), Shattering Class (1998 and 1999) and Another Party (2000).

Woodley's placegetters in recent August Cups have been Mysta Magical Mach (third behind Im Themightyquinn in 2010), Has The Answers (third behind Lombo Navigator and Rocket Reign in a thrilling three-way photo finish in 2011) and Has The Answers (second to Uppy Son last year).

Mysta Magical Mach and Has The Answers were prepared by Tony Svilicich, who won the August Cup with Digger of Fortune in 2003. Svilicich has trained six minor placegetters in the past six August Cups. In 2008 he was represented by Roydon Holmes and Demoralizer. Roydon Holmes (9/1) led until the final 20m and finished a close second to Glencadam, and Demoralizer was third.

He did not have a runner in 2009 before Has The Answers led until the final 50m when second to Im Themightyquinn in 2010. His other runner Mysta Magical Mach was third. A year later Has The Answers (6/4 on) set the pace when third. In the 2012 August Cup Mysta Magical Mach (6/1) set the pace and was two lengths in front with 120m to travel before being swamped and was relegated to fifth behind Dasher VC.

Twelve months ago Has The Answers was favourite at 6/4 when set the pace from barrier two and led until the final 90m when beaten by the fast-finishing Uppy Son. This year Svilicich will be represented by outsider Shardons Rocket, who will be driven by Chris Lewis, but faces an extremely difficult task from the outside of the back line.

The August Cup is a particularly significant event for Hall sen., who had the distinction of training Zakara for his four wins in the race --- in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Hall's other August Cup winner was Im Themightyquinn, who started at 5/2 on in 2010 when he got to the front 50m from the post before defeating the pacemaker Has The Answers.

The Cup prospects on Friday night of last-start winners Reuben Brogden and Our Arlington were boosted when they drew favourably at No. 2 and No. 3 on the front line.

Reuben Brogden, trained by his owner Gary Elson, was most impressive last Friday night when he was tenth at the 500m mark and stormed home from sixth, five wide, on the home turn to defeat Old McDonald at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m.

Our Arlington also caught the eye last Friday night when he galloped soon after the start and settled down a distant ninth before dashing forward to move into the breeze 1400m from home and then gained the one-out, one-back trail and then finishing boldly to snatch victory from Northview Punter.

Hall predicts big things for Machtu

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. has labelled Machtu the second best pacer in his Serpentine stables and is bubbling with confidence that the New Zealand-bred three-year-old will make a triumphant return to racing by proving too powerful for his rivals in the 2130m Glengarry Spectacles Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Machtu will be making his first appearance for 20 weeks when he starts out wide at No. 4 on the back line for champion reinsman Gary Hall jun.

This will be the gelding's first start since he finished a close third behind Three Blind Mice and Eyre Crusher in the WA Derby early last April.

"He has returned in great shape and his trials at Byford on the past two Sundays have been phenomenal," said an enthusiastic Hall sen. "He won both his trials, beating open-class horses and you would think that he would just win on Friday night.

"In a 2550m stand on Sunday Machtu led and beat his open-class stablemate Livingontheinterest by a length after sprinting the final 400m in 27.9sec. In a 2150m mobile the previous Sunday he led and covered the final 800m in 56.5sec. and beat top-class pacer David Hercules on his merits.

"Machtu is the second best horse in our stable, behind Im Themightyquinn. We are really happy with him and his long-term mission is the interdominion championship in Perth in 2016. At the moment we will take races as they come and see how he goes.

"Quinny is back in work and is coming along nicely. He should resume racing towards the end of October and his main target is the $700,000 New Zealand Cup on the second Tuesday in November. It's a stand and he will draw the front line."

Machtu, who has won at seven of his 12 starts, is one of three Hall runners in Friday night's race, the others being High Courage (No. 3 on the front line) and Classic American (outside of the back line).

High Courage and Classic American are smart colts, but appear a class below Machtu. Nonetheless, each will be fancied to figure in the finish along with Burning, the promising Mach Three colt in the stables of Greg and Skye Bond.

Burning, a speedy frontrunner and winner at seven of his 16 starts, will begin from the inside of the back line. An all-the way Pinjarra winner three starts ago, he lost few admirers when a fighting second to Elegant Christian over 2130m last Friday night after working hard without cover.

Hall sets sights on 250 winners

There is no stopping the all-conquering Hall training complex and now champion horseman Gary Hall sen. has lifted the bar and is setting himself fresh challenges as the 2013-14 season comes to an end.

The Hall camp has 14 starters on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and punters would be well advised to include all 14 runners in their thoughts.

Hall, a runaway winner of the trainers' premiership, would dearly love to end the season in a blaze of glory on Friday night. Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. also would love to wind up the city season by winning the final event with honest performer Globalization in the Pedrini Painting Westbred Pathway Pace.

Hall sen. leads the Metropolitan trainers' premiership with 169 wins --- a mile head of Greg and Skye Bond (63), Ross Olivieri (62), Debbie Padberg (32) and Andrew De Campo (25).

On all tracks in Western Australia during the season he has had 814 starters for 209 winners, 116 seconds and 96 thirds for prizemoney of $2,966,533. In second place is the Bond stable with 146 winners and 128 placegetters from 817 starters. This is the first time a trainer has prepared more than 200 winners in a season in this State.

Hall currently has 50 horses in work and he wants to keep the winners rolling in.

"My aim for the 2014-15 season is to train 250 winners and to win the WA Pacing Cup for the ninth time," he declared. "Im Themightyquinn will run in the Cup, providing the wheels stay on."

Hall is also looking for big things from exciting three-year-old Machtu and he also predicted bright futures for many of his horses, including Beaudiene Boaz, Nuala, Zennart and Juliana Bromac.

Get on Machs A Pearler

Unfavourable barriers have dogged Machs A Pearler in recent weeks and the New Zealand-bred four-year-old should greatly appreciate starting from the prized No. 1 barrier in the first event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The honest gelding, trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, looks a good thing and punters should establish a good bank for the night by supporting him to end a losing sequence of seven.

Machs A Pearler has enjoyed little luck recently after starting from the back line three times and from the outside of the front line twice at his past five outings. He is a smart frontrunner ideally suited over the sprint trip of 1730m. Punters should take it into serious consideration that he has led in ten of his 490 starts for five wins and five second placings.

The Bond stable has 13 runners on Friday night, including six starters in the $25,000 King's Park Fashion Schrader final over 2130m.

Four of those runners --- Tuapeka Kahu, Lunar Tide, Bettor Offer and Im Terrific --- are last-start winners, while the other two, Jay Bees Grin and Condrieu each finished third at their most recent outing and have sound prospects.

Libertybelle Midfrew runs a sizzling trial

Star filly Libertybelle Midfrew looms large as the best bet on the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after running a superb trial at Byford on Sunday morning.

Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed and to be driven by his son Mark, has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from barrier seven, the outside of the front line in the 1730m Casey Australia Pace.

She warmed up for the race in dashing style at Byford on Sunday morning when she raced wide early and then took up the running before careering away from her four rivals to win the 2150m trial by almost 19 lengths from Shezablaze, rating 1.57.1 after sprinting over the final 800m in 56sec.

This performance showed that the filly was poised to make amends for her shock first-up defeat at 10/1 on when she raced without cover and finished third behind Harriet Elisabeth and Jungle Jewel over 2130m on August 1. That was her first appearance since scoring a runaway victory in the WA Oaks on May 9 to take her West Australian record to five starts for five wins.

Making good appeal as a placegetter is the Andrew De Campo-trained Maddy White, who should be prominent throughout from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. The David Thompson-trained Harriet Elisabeth has won at seven of her 18 starts and is capable of a bold showing from barrier three on the back line.

Where Dreams Grow, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, has won at each of her past three starts, two at Bunbury and then one at Gloucester Park, when she set the pace from barrier two. But she faces a stern test from the No. 6 barrier.

 Ken Casellas

 

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