Evergreen champion Has The Answers has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and the noted frontrunning speedster should lead his rivals on a merry dance in the 2130m Racing Radio Pace at Gloucester Park tonight.
Morgan Woodley should get the hardy ten-year-old straight to the front and there does not appear to be another runner on the front line capable of applying great pressure in the first lap. Sneakyn Down Under, the other ten-year-old in the field, is the solitary runner on the back line and this will prevent Darren Duffy from getting to the breeze in the early stages.
Sneakyn Down Under started from the outside of the front line in the 2536m August Cup last Friday night and Duffy restrained him back to last before he followed the three-wide runs of Ima Rocket Star and Shardons Rocket to move to the breeze in the middle stages and put pressure on the pacemaking Has The Answers.
Has The Answers defied the challenge from Sneakyn Down Under and fought on grandly to finish a 2m second to the fast-finishing Uppy Son. Sneakyn Down Under was a nose away in third place.
Has The Answers proved the master of Sneakyn Down Under three starts ago when he raced in sixth place in the one-wide line and flashed home from fifth at the 100m mark to narrowly defeat the pacemaking Sneaky Down Under at a 1.53.8 rate over 1730m. Has The Answers, an equine millionaire, should again prove too good for Sneakyn Down Under and chalk up his 76th victory at his 240th start.
HALL AND NORTHVIEW PUNTER ARE A DEVASTATING COMBINATION
Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. has driven Northview Punter 12 times for eight wins, three seconds and one third and this devastating combination should strike again when they join forces in the 2130m Mornings With Matt McDermott Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Northview Punter resumed in style after a four-month absence when Shane Butcher drove him to an easy victory over 2130m at a 1.57.4 rate at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. The classy colt settled down in the one-out, one-back position before moving outside the pacemaker Bettors Ace after a lap. He swept to the front 320m from home and won by 5m from Zamaye.
That took the New Zealand-bred three-year-old’s record to ten wins and five placings from just 18 starts. Northview Punter is unfavourably drawn on the outside of the back line on Friday night, but he has the ability to overcome this disadvantage.
His chief rival is likely to be his stablemate Slick Chapel, who will start from the outside (No. 7) on the front line. Slick Chapel, who has won at four of his 19 starts, resumed after a spell at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he covered a good deal of extra ground and finished fourth behind Ohoka Assassin. He is sure to be improved by that outing, his first run for four months.
One runner who is sure to have many admirers is Desgerrado, who is in line to complete a hat-trick after strong wins at Northam and Gloucester Park. Desgerrado outclassed his nine rivals when he set the pace and scored by more than eight lengths from Banned For Life over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week.
He has been driven in all of his 28 starts by part-owner and trainer Ray Retzlaff, who will hand the reins over to Nathan Turvey. Retzlaff is serving a 19-day suspension for causing interference in a race at Northam. Desgerrado will start from barrier three on the back line and cannot be underestimated.
BUTCHER CHOSEN TO DRIVE OHOKA SAMSON
Part-owner and trainer Kade Howson has engaged talented young reinsman Shane Butcher to drive smart but injury-plagued seven-year-old Ohoka Samson in the 2130m Drivetime With Stewart Maister Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to enable the New Zealand-bred gelding to qualify for a start in an event restricted to M1-class pacers.
Ohoka Samson, is on a M2 mark, but can contest Friday night’s event with Howson making use of Butcher’s concession as a junior driver.
Ohoka Samson, a winner at 12 of his 29 starts, is handily drawn at No. 2 on the front line and looks set to fight out the finish with last-start winners Heavens Delight, Kotare Ash, Arch On Fire and Real Hammer.
Howson drove Ohoka Samson at his previous outing when the gelding was a most unlucky second to Bulldozer in a fast-run 2130m event at Gloucester Park last Friday week. Ohoka Samson worked hard in the breeze for the second part of the race and crossed the line locked together with the pacemaking Bulldozer.
There was a malfunction with the photo-finish equipment and Bulldozer was declared the winner by a nose. Two starts before that Ohoka Samson burst to the front in the middle stages and went on to win over 2100m from Bledisloe and Chaldea at Bunbury.
Another M2-class pacer, Kotare Ash, will contest Friday night’s event, with trainer and senior reinsman Chris Brew in the sulky. In races in which there are concessions for junior drivers, mares are eligible to drop down a class.’
Kotare Ash will have many admirers after finishing strongly to win at her past two starts, over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Friday week and over 2130m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.
by Ken Casellas (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)