Day At The Track

Gloucester Park review

06:25 PM 16 Feb 2020 NZDT
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Valentines Brook is Derby bound

Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed has the superbly-bred Valentines Brook firmly on target for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 3 after the gelding was not extended in scoring an effortless victory in the APG Perth Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Driven with supreme confidence by Shannon Suvaljko, the Victorian-bred Valentines Brook, a $4.80 chance, began speedily from the No. 5 barrier, dashed to the front after 150m and sped over the final quarters in 28.1sec. and 27.8sec. to beat Miss Eerie by one and a half lengths at a 1.56 rate over 2130m.

He certainly was the omen bet or the night --- on Valentine’s Day --- and the gelding, purchased for $52,000 by Albert Walmsley at the 2018 APG yearling sale in Melbourne, now has earned $42,072 from five wins and four placings from 12 starts.

Suvaljko, who leapt at the opportunity to drive Valentines Brook for the first time (with Michael Grantham serving a term of suspension), was full of praise for the gelding’s performance and rated him a genuine Derby prospect.

“I was happy to let him bowl along in the lead and he had plenty left on the line,” he said. “They said he went for a knee a bit but he was pretty clean in front. He did it quite easily.”

Valentines Brook’s win completed a double for Suvaljko, who was successful with the Matt Scott-trained Son Of A Tiger in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace.

Son Of A Tiger Successful in Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace

Five-year-old Son Of A Tiger, the $2.80 favourite from barrier two, relished the role of pacemaker and won from the fast-finishing The Dali Express and Touch Of Success, rating 1.58 over 2130m.

“He won’t run in the $50,000 RWWA Cup next Friday night,” Scott said. “I’ll take him to Bunbury for the $25,000 Manea Classic the following night before looking at the $50,000 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on March 13.

“Son Of A Tiger is a better sit and kick horse, but when you draw barrier two, like  did last week and this week, you’ve really got to lead.”

Son Of A Tiger, a winner of three races in New Zealand, is proving a good buy for Tim Blee and now has raced 25 times in WA for eight wins and five placings.

Stylish Win by Fake News

Gary Hall jnr brought up a double when he landed smart four-year-old mare Fake News a stylish winner in the final event, the Catalano Truck and Equipment Pace over 2130m.

Fake News, the even-money favourite, enjoyed a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position, before sprinting home strongly to beat the heavily-supported $2.65 pacemaker Captain Mannering by almost a length.

Champion trainer Gary Hall snr was delighted at the victory. He bred the mare on his property after training both her sire Alta Christiano and her dam Is She Talking. Hall prepared the brilliant, but ill-fated Alta Christiano for his ten starts in WA for nine wins (including the Western Gateway Pace and the 2013 WA Derby in 2013) before injuries forced the star pacer into retirement after only 18 starts for 13 wins and $309,163.

The New Zealand-bred Is She Talking had 32 starts for the Hall stable for 11 wins, eight placings and $81,615. Fake News now has raced 30 times for ten wins and five placings for $121,285 in prizemoney.

Standing Start Specialist Always An Honour takes out the Direct Trades Supply Handicap

Hall junior’s earlier winner was behind standing start specialist, the Justin Prentice-trained $2.45 favourite Always An Honour, who led throughout and won from outsider Over Loaded in the 2096m Direct Trades Supply Handicap.

Hall has driven the Art Major four-year-old 12 times for eight wins.

Brown Steers Ideal Liner to Victory

Hall snr also prepared the lightly-raced Ideal Liner for his narrow victory in the 2130m Retravision Pace, which gave Maddison Brown perfect record in the sulky behind the New Zealand-bred five-year-old. Brown only previous drive behind the gelding was at Gloucester Park on December 13 last year when he led and beat Simba Bromac over 2536m.

Ideal Liner’s win on Friday night was due to the aggression of Brown, who surged the gelding forward, three wide for the first 450m before working in the breeze, with the strongly-supported Ocean Ridge setting the pace. Ideal Liner finished powerfully, took the lead on the home turn and won by a head at a 1.56.9 rate the $2.10 favourite Bill Haley, who finished strongly from last at the bell.

“Ideal Liner was a bit disappointing at his previous couple of runs,” said Hall snr. “But worked brilliantly on Wednesday morning. He’s more tough than he’s quick and the RWWA Cup next Friday night probably will be his last run before going for a spell. He will be a better horse next summer.”   

Trainer-Reinsman Hayter's First City Success

Hoiho, who was making his first appearance at Gloucester Park for exactly one year, gave Bunbury trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter for his first city success since he drove eight-year-old Soho Wonder to a last stride nose victory over the pacemaker and $1.50 favourite Argyle Red on November 16, 2018.

Hoiho enjoyed a perfect passage behind the pacemaking Illusionation before finishing determinedly to beat the hot favourite While They Pray, who had taken the lead 430m from home. Hoiho, a New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, was a $14.10 tote chance who started at handsome fixed odds of $19.

Hayter, a mechanic at Bunbury Honda/Kia, races Hoiho in partnership with his boss Adam Jones and his cousins, twins Heath and Liam Stewart. They purchased the gelding for $10,000 two years ago.

“It was a bit more than I would’ve liked to pay,” said Hayter. ”But he’s certainly justified that price.” The gelding has had 39 starts for his new owners for six wins, 12 placings and $45,896 in stakes.

Caretaker Cortopassi Delivers 

Darling Downs horseman Aldo Cortopassi leapt at the chance to take over the preparation of Lightning Jolt when Byford trainer John Oldroyd left with his wife Val for an ocean cruise just over a week ago.

Lightning Jolt, a 6/1 chance, sat behind the pacemaker and hot favourite Athabascan before Cortopassi brought the seven-year-old with a strong burst to hit the front on the home turn and win the 2536m Westral Pace from the fast-finishing Clarenden Hustler.

“John asked me to look after the horse while he was away and I jumped at the opportunity,” Cortopassi said. “He said that I had the licence to do what I wanted to do with him. Things fell into place for us, drawing the No. 1 barrier.

“I drove him for John for the first time a fortnight ago and he just felt he didn’t hit the line one hundred per cent genuine. So, I thought I’d try the pull-down blinkers on him, to see if they would spark him up a little bit. Everything fell into plan.”

Lewis Fillies & Mares Pace

A dashing drive by Aiden de Campo paved the way for American Delight’s impressive victory over Mandy Joan and Dancing With Mach in the $30,000 group 3 Lewis Pace.

From barrier six, American Delight settled down in 11th position, with the $2.40 favourite Dancing With Mach setting a slow early pace, with a lead time of 38.1sec. and an opening quarter of the final mile in 31.3sec.

De Campo set American Delight alight at the 1400m mark and the four-year-old mare burst past Dancing With Mach and into the lead with 1050m to travel. The stewards found de Campo guilty of causing interference to Dancing With Mach and suspended him from driving for seven days.

Woodworth Turvey Combo Snatches Victory

Five-year-old Bee Seventeen, driven perfectly in the one-out, one-back position by Nathan Turvey for Baldivis trainer Cliff Woodworth, finished gamely to snatch a half-head victory over Major Spoilt in the 2530m Mexican March Madness Pace. Turvey had driven the gelding only once before in his 85 starts --- and that was on debut when he finished second to Warriors Code at Northam on February 4, 2017.

Impressive Soho Thunderstruck

Four-year-old Soho Thunderstruck revealed impressive fighting qualities when he started from the back line, raced three wide early and then in the breeze outside the pacemaker and hot favourite The Last Drop before finish with great determination to win narrowly from The Last Drop in the 2130m Choices Pace. Trainer-driver Kim Prentice said that the horse still a few problems to iron out, but had a promising future.


Ken Casellas

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