Day At The Track

Gloucester Park review

02:02 PM 11 Jan 2021 NZDT
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Gloucester Park, Harness racing

Bletchley Park excels in front

A sizzling opening 400m section of 26.6sec. paved the way for Bletchley Park’s superb victory in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“I haven’t seen many faster quarters at Gloucester Park,” said Bunbury trainer Stephen Reed after Lindsay Harper had driven the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an effortless win over Vultan Tin and Cant Refuse.

“I was happy that Vampiro was unable to cross to the front, and then Bletchley Park looked like he was doing that first quarter under his own steam. I was quietly confident that he could run that early speed and still have it at the end.

“He excels when he’s leading and he seems to run his best races when he is out in front, rolling. He has been racing in an open bridle and being a mile tonight I decided to put some pull-downs on him to sharpen him up.

“However, it turned out that we didn’t actually need them. Lindsay said that he still had another gear.”

After his sparkling opening quarter Bletchley Park, favourite at $2.30, reeled off the next three quarters in 28.2sec., 27.9sec. and 29.4sec. and he rated a smart 1.52.4 which was 0.8sec. outside the 1730m track record of 1.51.6 recorded by Chicago Bull when he beat Soho Tribeca by a head in the Mount Eden Sprint in October 2017.

Vampiro, an $8.50 chance, was fastest away from the outside barrier (No. 9), with Balcatherine ($4.60) and Galactic Star ($5) also showing considerable early speed. However, Bletchley Park held up from the favourable No. 2 barrier.

Balcatherine covered a lot of extra ground before getting to the breeze after about a lap, and she wilted to finish eighth. Vultan Tin, a $26 chance from barrier seven, maintained his splendid form and impressed greatly by sustaining a spirited three-wide burst from the rear at the bell to finish second, just over a length behind Vultan Tin.

Bletchley Park, by American stallion American Ideal and out of the New Zealand-bred mare Alldatglittersisgold, is owned by Albert and Julie Walmsley and has earned $310,436 from 16 wins and 18 placings from 46 starts.

Friday night’s win gave Harper his third success in the Village Kid Sprint, originally known at the Celebrity Sprint, following successes with Shattering Class in 1998 and 2002.

Albert Walmsley paid tribute to the skill of Reed and, wonderful stable worker Aimee-Lee Wood and Harper, and said he was looking forward to Bletchley Park contesting feature events in the coming year.

“We have no real plans,” said Reed. “He has pulled up well and there’s no reason to have a break. We’ll try to target the feature races with him.”


Talktomeurmattjesty is exciting

Speed machine Talktomurmattjesty bounced back to his brilliant best with a runaway victory in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, a dazzling performance which left reinsman Kyle Harper singing the praises of the New Zealand-bred nine-year-old and the gelding’s part-owner and trainer Barry Howlett.

Talktomeurmattjesty started favourite at $2.30 from the prized No. 1 barrier and ran his five rivals ragged as he led by eight lengths after 500m and extended the margin to 12 lengths at the bell before coasting to a five-length victory over Whozideawasthis, rating 1.54, following quarters of 29.6sec., 28.8sec., 27.8sec. and 28.8sec.

This remarkable performance, at his second appearance after a seven-month absence, followed unplaced efforts at his five previous outings when he was beaten by a combined total of 320 metres, an average losing margin of 64m or 21 lengths. In most of those failures Talktomeurmattjesty ruined his chances by overracing badly.

“When the horse is on song, like he was tonight, he’s very exciting, very pleasing and very much fun,” said Harper

“When he is in a feature race with some better horses drawn inside him, he can be a bit unruly, and it isn’t all that much fun. But when he is at his best, he makes up for that. He is a very impressive horse. I’ve been lucky enough to have driven some impressive horses in my short career and he’s right up there with the best of them.

“It is very taxing on a horse to race the way he does, and that’s the only downside; it’s something that can affect the longevity of his campaigns. He is incredible to drive and he was a lot more settled tonight.

“Sometimes he’s a dead-set runaway and wants to run the first half in 55sec., reefing and pulling. Tonight, he opened up a big lead and did it quite comfortably. When he is not reefing and tearing and he’s doing it within himself, he is very hard to run down because he doesn’t stop.

“Sometimes he does get a bit too big for his boots and grabs the chewy, and that’s when he brings himself undone. This was definitely one of his more impressive runs tonight. I didn’t even turn the stick on him, and he went to the line with the plugs in and not having to touch him with the whip.

“It was an impressive performance, second-up, and a terrific training performance by Barry and his team, Katie and Jimmy.”

Talktomeurmattjesty, by American stallion Royal Mattjesty and the ninth and last foal out of New Zealand mare Talk To Me Later, had three starts in New Zealand in late 2015 for two wins and a placing and his WA record for the Howlett family stands at 47 starts for 14 wins and 11 placings.

His career record is 50 starts for 16 wins, 12 placings and $192,585. He is a half-brother to Talk To Me Courage, who earned $649,507 from 47 wins and 82 placings from 288 starts. Talk To Me Courage finished a close third behind Aikido Whitby in the 2006 Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park and eleven of his wins in Western Australia included the 2010 Lord Mayor’s Cup before he developed into a consistent performer in America.


Slow pace worries Turvey

Normally a dawdling lead time is highly beneficial for the pacemaker. But when the $2.10 favourite and polemarker Jack William ambled through the lead time in a very slow 39.1sec. and followed that with a pedestrian opening quarter of 31.4sec., Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey was quite concerned.

“A slow pace doesn’t suit him because he likes to get out and run,” explained Turvey. “So, I was worried when the lead time was that slow. I was getting nervous because I wanted him to go quicker. He’s not quick, but he’s tough and doesn’t need to be driven pretty.

“You’ve seen in many of his runs that if he’s engaged in a war, he doesn’t let you down.”

Driver Emily Suvaljko was not put under undue pressure in the first lap and a bit by the breeze horse Bettor Be Oscar before she lifted the tempo and Jack William dashed over the final 400m sections in 28.5sec. and 28.3sec. and went on to win by a half-neck from the strong-finishing Bettor Be Oscar, with Mr Kiwi a length away in third place after trailing the pacemaker all the way.

Jack William’s rate was a modest 1.59.1 and the victory ended a losing sequence of 14 and improved his record to 88 starts for 14 wins, 28 placings and $128,807 in stakes.

“He has been a ripper for me,” said Turvey, who races the Bettors Delight eight-year-old in partnership with his stable lieutenant Maddie Coles.

“He was only a cheap purchase from Victoria and although I thought he would do an okay job here; he has exceeded all expectations.”

Jack William won four times from 42 starts in Victoria and since Turvey purchased him about 17 months ago he has raced 46 times for his new owners for ten wins, 19 placings and $95,049 in prizemoney.

Jack William is out of American-bred mare Western Ideal, who has also produced Bettor Be Sorry (12 starts for eight wins, one placings and $51,850) and Reactor Now (20 starts for 11 wins, one placings and $86,330).


De Campo’s flying start

Talented trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo has made a flying start to the 2021 season, landing a driving treble at the opening city meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His band of ardent supporters cashed in when he was successful behind Walsh ($8.90), The Kraken ($7.50) and Blue Blazer ($24.20). He prepares Walsh and The Kraken in Capel, and Blue Blazer is trained by Baskerville horseman Ryan Bell.

And the 28-year-old de Campo continued his magical streak by driving five winners at the Albany meeting on Saturday night, leaving him as the State’s leader driver after the first nine days of the season when his 19 drives resulted in eight wins and three seconds.

He had seven drives at the Albany meetings for wins with Keptain Courageous, All The Bells, Pradason, Dominus Factum and Strike Dream and second placings behind Shoot Through and Major Jade.

Walsh, purchased for $34,000 at the 2017 Perth yearling sale, appreciated a drop in class when he started from barrier No. 5 in the 2130m Westral Pace on Friday night.

Unplaced at his previous nine starts and with a losing sequence of 11, Walsh enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before de Campo sent him forward to hit the front on the home turn and then fight on grimly to beat $4.80 chance Carrera Mach, who sustained a strong three-wide burst from ninth and last at the bell to fail by just a half-head.

Carrera Mach followed the three-wide run of $6.50 chance Im Rocknroll Magic, who finished a creditable third, with the pacemaker and $2.60 favourite Beach Skipper wilting to fourth.

Walsh, an Art Major five-year-old, now has raced 65 times for ten wins, 18 placings and $89,483 in stakes. His dam the Courage Under Fire mare Dontgetmeruffled earned $71,685 from 13 wins, 24 placings from 97 starts. She was a winner of six races in South Australia and seven in Western Australia.   

The Kraken started from the outside in the field of eight in the 2130m Allwood Stud Farm Pace in which the polemaker and last-start Northam winner Valbonne was the $1.75 favourite.

Valbonne was beaten for early pace by $26 outsider Dominate The Dojo before de Campo made full use of The Kraken’s sparkling speed to send the Art Major five-year-old to the front after 400m.

The Kraken then relished his pacemaking role. After a fast lead time of 35.4sec. The Kraken relaxed and was able to amble through the opening quarter in 31.9sec. before covering the following 400m sections in 30.2sec., 28.8sec. and 28.7sec.

He won by just under a length from Dominate The Dojo, with Bad Round ($41) running on from the rear to finish third, ahead of Valbonne, who raced three back on the pegs in fifth position and was badly blocked for a run until getting clear on the home turn.

The Kraken has been a consistent performer and has earned $101,218 from 11 wins and 22 placings from 52 starts.

Blue Blazer, an Auckland Reactor six-year-old, started from the outside barrier in the field of seven in the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sales Pace and de Campo was content to race in last position in the Indian file affair, with the $1.50 favourite Rock Me Over setting a moderate pace.        

When Corey Peterson eased One For Dave Andme off the pegs to lead the one-wide line approaching the bell, de Campo was quick to dash Blue Blazer forward to enjoy the one-out, one-back trail. Blue Blazer was switched three wide about 260m from home before he hit the front on the turn and went on to win by a neck from Rock Me Over.

Blue Blazer, owned by Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-presidents Kevin Jeavons and Gino Monaco, won twice in New Zealand and six times in New South Wales before arriving in Western Australia where his 23 starts have produced three wins and four placings.


The Last Drop bred to succeed

With close relatives Parthenon and Mon Poppy Day, group 1 winners in the 1990s, five-year-old Allamerican Ingot gelding The Last Drop was bred to be a good winner.  

The Last Drop, trained by Kristy Sheehy and owned by her and Josh Dunn on lease from breeder Bob Fowler, started favourite at $1.60 when Shannon Suvaljko drove him to a smart all-the-way win in the 2130m Cowden The Insurance Brokers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Sheehy and Dunn took the lease ten months ago and now The Last Drop has had 12 starts for them for four wins, three placings and stakes of $40,795 to take his career record to 35 starts for ten wins, eight placings and $74,412.

The Last Drop was unextended in setting a moderate early pace and then dashing over the final 800m in 56.3sec. to beat Black Jack Zac by 7m, with Machlani a neck away in third place.

The Last Drop’s maternal granddam Broncroft Castle produced eight winners, including Parthenon, winner of the 1995 WA Oaks in a 25-start career of six wins and $79,920, and Mon Poppy Day, who was retired with earnings of $318,558 from 20 wins and 16 placings from 50 starts.

Mon Poppy Day, trained and driven by Rod Chambers, was a brilliant three-year-old in 1996 when he won the Tasmania and WA Derbies and finished a half-head second to Sharp And Telford in the Victoria Derby at Moonee Valley before he won the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park in December 1996, the Christmas Gift in 1997 and the 1998 Mount Eden Sprint.


Antero enjoys a perfect passage

Six-year-old Auckland Reactor pacer Antero has flourished since entering the stables of Gary Hall snr and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out and one-back position before finishing solidly to win by a nose from the fast-finishing Pocket The Cash in the 2536m Direct trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Antero, driven by Gary Hall jnr, was the $2.50 favourite who boosted his record for the Hall stable to six starts for three wins and two seconds. Hall snr is the fifth trainer to have prepared Antero during his 62-start career for owner Jodie Gray.

Antero is the first foal out of Adda My Way, who raced 47 times in WA for seven wins, ten placings and $32,968.


Suvaljko’s double

Shannon Suvaljko completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drove skilfully to land $19 chance Waltzingwithsierra an easy winner in the 2130m Retravision Pace. He was a winner earlier in the program with The Last Drop.

Waltzingwithsierra, trained by Katja Warwick, is regarded as a smart sit-sprinter who is best suited when racing on the pegs.

From the No. 2 barrier, Waltzingwithsierra raced three back on the pegs in an Indian file affair, with the $1.40 favourite Somebeachparty racing in sixth position in the field of eight.

Gary Hall jnr urged Somebeachparty forward approaching the bell, and with a lap to travel Suvaljko eased Waltzingwithsierra off the pegs, forcing Somebeachparty out three wide.

Waltzingwithsierra forged to the front 430m from home and quickly established a commanding lead. She went on to win by three and a half lengths from $11 chance Vivere Damore, who was last at the bell and finished powerfully, out four wide on the home turn. Somebeachparty was a half-head away in third place.

Waltzingwithsierra is by American stallion Always A Virgin and is out of the Village Jasper mare Sierra Tango, who produced seven filly foals. She is one of the four of those foals to have raced, the others being Dancingwithsierra (38 starts for 13 wins, 12 placings and $161,544), Tangoingwithsierra (21 starts for nine wins, ten placings and $174,130) and Rockingwithsierra (30 starts for three wins, 11 placings and $74,660).


Ken Casellas

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