Im Victorious is set to start a warm harness racing favourite in Friday night's (April 20) $200,000 Group One Sky Racing Derby at Gloucester Park after drawing the coveted inside barrier for the Blue Ribband Classic.
Trained by Michael Brennan, who has only just set up his own training complex after completing an apprenticeship under champion trainer Gary Hall Sr., Im Victorious won last week's traditional Derby lead-up, the Western Gateway and is sure to start the punter's elect after securing barrier one.
The son ofhas been a revelation since coming from New Zealand, winning six of his seven Australian starts, with his only defeat coming at the hands of fellow Derby contestant, Gracias Para Nada.
Im Victorious is part owned by former Fremantle Dockers captain, Peter Bell and thoroughbred trainers Simon Miller and Kellie Grantham, who have been at Gloucester Park in recent weeks to cheer on their first ever pacer.
Gracias Para Nada has once again drawn the back line and will carry the number 10 saddle cloth. Gracias Para Nada looked to have the Group One at his mercy a month ago, however the draw and his racing manners have meant his appeal has lost some lustre with punters.
Group One winner Soho Valencia has drawn barrier two, but is also engaged in the fourth heat of the NSW Derby at Menangle a night later. It is understood that Friday night's feature is the preferred option as the outstanding son ofis owned in Western Australia by leading owner/breeder Robert Watson.
Fellow Victorian, Mr Nickel has drawn well in barrier nine, following out Soho Valencia from the second line, while leading trainer Greg Bond will debut high quality import Your Good Fortune, who will follow out Im Victorious.
The barrier draw for the $200,000 Group One Sky Racing Derby is:
1. Im Victorious
2. Soho Valencia
3. Western Cullen
4. El Machine
6. Black Aquila
7. Major Catastrophe
8. Your Good Fortune
9. Mr Nickel
10. Gracias Para Nada
11. Say It Now
12. The Newyork Yankee
Hezgot Fusion Power (1st Emergency)
Itz Darknstormy (2nd Emergency)
The co-feature of the night will be the $50,000 Sky Racing Empress Stakes, where exciting mare Kamwood Laughter makes her Gloucester Park debut after winning four from five starts at Pinjarra, including a 1.53.8 effort at her latest outing.
The night will also be highlighted by an appearance of the 2012 V75 Inter Dominion champion, Im Themightyquinn, who will parade for the public. To commemorate his historic win, free posters of 'Quinny' will be handed out to everyone on course.
The Gloucester Park gates open at 5pm (WAST), with the first of a big 10 race card scheduled for 5.50pm (WAST) and the Group One Sky Racing Derby set to jump at 9.15pm (WAST) as race seven.
by Michael RADLEY
I'm Victorious's last start win at Gloucester Park last Friday (April 13):