Day At The Track

Jesse Moore seeks third Pearl Classic

03:38 PM 10 Jun 2015 NZST
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Aiden de Campo drives Rich Yankee in the $102,000 Pearl Classic
Aiden de Campo drives Rich Yankee in the $102,000 Pearl Classic

Northam harness racing horseman Jesse Moore, a master trainer of juvenile pacers for more than 40 years, has high hopes of winning the prestigious group 1 Pearl Classic for the third time when Aiden de Campo drives Rich Yankee in the $102,000 International Health Products Pearl Classic at Donaldson Park in Bunbury on Friday night.

Rich Yankee, a winner at four of his eight starts, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six on the front line in the 2100m classic for two-year-olds, but he is versatile and capable of overcoming that disadvantage.

Moore has a special affinity with Rich Yankee, having prepared the Yankee Sensation gelding's dam Rich Babe, who earned $134,415 from 14 wins and 30 placings from 95 starts. Rich Babe, like her only progeny (Rich Yankee) showed excellent promise as a two-year-old. She raced 14 times at that age for two wins and seven placings, the most notable of which was her second to the brilliant Amongst Royalty in the group 2 $70,000 Sales Classic for fillies at Gloucester Park in February 2006.

Moore trained Don Athaldo for his notable victory over champion filly Mazzini Magic in the 1998 Pearl and notched his second win in the classic when 8/1 chance The Jobs On, driven by Gary Hall jun., overcame the No. 6 barrier when he raced in the breeze and took the lead 700m from home to score by four lengths from outsider Lady de Beau in 2004.

Rich Yankee revealed sparkling early pace from barrier four in a qualifying heat of the Pearl at Pinjarra on Tuesday of last week when he surged to the front after 75m. He rated 1.58 over the 2185m journey and defeated Soho Wall Street by 13m, with 7m to the third placegetter Destined To Rule.

The gross time for that heat was 2min. 40.2sec. Alfs Odyssey gave a strong performance to win the other qualifying heat, with a gross time of 2min. 43sec., rating 2.0.1.

Alfs Odyssey, trained and driven by Justin Prentice, started from barrier six and he worked hard in the breeze before he forged to the front 300m from home and fought on doggedly to win by a head from the fast-finishing Johnny Disco. The final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.9sec. compare favourably with Rich Yankee's final sectionals of 29.5sec. and 28.2sec.

Alfs Odyssey by Dawn Ofa New Day, bred and owned by Reg Smallacombe, was a 22/1 outsider for his win at his third start in a race. He will be at a much shorter quote in Friday night's final in which he has drawn perfectly at No. 1 on the front line. He and Johnny Disco (barrier two) look set to contest the early lead. The Glenn Elliott-trained Soho Wall Street will start from the No. 4 barrier. He possesses excellent gate speed and could also make a bid for the early lead.

Elliott will also be represented by Soho Wolverine (Grinfromeartoear), who is handily drawn on the inside of the back line. Soho Wall Street (Four Starzzz Shark) has won once from four starts (at Narrogin three starts ago) and Soho Wolverine was a winner at Pinjarra in March, as well as being placed five times in his seven-start career.

Pinjarra trainer Ross Ashby has two runners, Johnny Disco (Jeremes Jet) and Disco Under Fire by Courage Under Fire (who faces a tough task from the outside of the front line). Johnny Disco led and won over 1730m at his debut at Gloucester Park in early February, when he defeated Rich Yankee. Johnny Disco will be handled by Chris Lewis, who has won the Pearl behind Lombo Laredo (1994), Mitemptation (1995) and Argent Treasure (2007).

Two runners with strong each-way prospects are Lightning Jolt (Village Jolt) and Destined To Rule (Shadow Play), who will start from the two outside positions on the back line.

Lightning Jolt, trained at Byford by John Oldroyd, possesses wonderful natural pace and looks set to fight out the finish, with Clint Hall in the sulky. Lightning Jolt, a brilliant all-the-way winner at a 1.57.6 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park at his second race start (on May 15), galloped at the mobile start and lost six lengths in a qualifying heat last week.

He was eighth at the bell in the field of nine before finishing strongly into fourth place behind Alfs Odyssey. Hall then drove him to a stylish runaway victory in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. The gelding burst straight to the front from barrier four and was allowed to dawdle through the first two 400m sections in 32.9sec. and 32.1sec. before he strolled over the next section in 30.2sec. and sprinted over the final quarter in 27.9sec. to win, unextended, by more than seven lengths from Questionable Gesture.

Lightning Jolt is a brother of stablemate Mynameskenny, who finished a good fourth behind Beaudiene Boaz in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park last July.

Destined To Rule, to be driven by Kim Prentice for Baskerville trainer Sonia Zucchiatti, was a most unlucky third behind Rich Yankee in a Pearl heat at Pinjarra on Tuesday of last week. After being restrained from barrier five, he raced at the rear before starting a fast move about 650m from home. But he then met severe interference and did extremely well to recover and fight on determinedly.

Prentice is hoping for better luck than he encountered in the Pearl 12 months ago when he was driving the 2/1 on favourite The Odd Lover, when the off-side tyre of the colt's sulky was punctured just 100m after the start. The Odd Lover then was at a massive disadvantage when he raced outside the pacemaker (and winner) Isaiah Artois with the tube wrapped around the axel. He broke when being restrained as he was dropping back 250m from the finish.

by Ken Casellas

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