GRAND CRU IS BRED TO BE A STAR
Grand Cru, a son of Under Cover Lover, one of the best mares to have raced in Australasia in the past 15 years, should end his campaign as a three-year-old on a winning note by proving too strong for his 11 rivals in the 2130m TABform Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Trained at Hazelmere by Mike Reed, Grand Cru is a noted frontrunner who is certain to appreciate the prized No. 1 barrier and he should end a losing sequence of five.
He will be handled by his regular reinsman, who is in sparkling form, having scored with All Williams (5/2) and Modern Love (11/2) at Pinjarra on Monday and with 7/1 chance Sign In at Northam on Tuesday night.
The New Zealand-bred Grand Cru did not race as a two-year-old and he has had 17 starts for Reed in Western Australia for three wins and six placings. He set the pace at his two most recent wins, at Gloucester Park in February and at Northam in April.
Under Cover Lover, by the American stallion, was an outstanding performer who was retired to the stud after winning by six lengths over 2200m at Alexandra Park in December 2000 at her final start. She amassed $864,923 from 21 wins (15 in New Zealand and six in Australia) and 22 placings from 70 starts. Grand Cru, by , is her seventh foal.
Grand Cru’s most serious rivals appear to be Dardy Delight (barrier two) and the only other New Zealand-bred pacer in the race, Mexicano (barrier three).
Dardy Delight, a winner at Bridgetown and Narrogin earlier this year, raced wide early and then gained a good sit, one-out and one-back, before getting to the front 120m from home and then wilting to third behind La Bella Flame and Coolest Easton over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He led early and then sat behind the pacemaker when a sound third to Another Vinnie and Truckers Buckeroo over 2100m at Bunbury at his previous outing.
Mexicano, a winner of two races in New Zealand (as a two-year-old on debut, beating Slick Chapel at Alexandra Park) and at Addington as an early three-year-old last November, has started favourite at his first three starts in WA, for a second to Bettor Giddyup at Gloucester Park and fourths behind Desgerrado at Northam and La Bella Flame at Pinjarra. He is capable of improvement.
Batavia Comet, who will start from the No. 4 barrier, warmed up for the race with an encouraging effort at Northam on Tuesday night when he sustained a spirited burst from ninth at the bell to get up and beat the pacemaker Gamblers Power.
HALL POISED TO LAND THE TRIFECTA IN THE OPENING EVENT
Punters keen to build up a bank at Gloucester Park on Friday night should invest on the trifecta in the opening event, the TABtouch.Mobi Pace, and select leading trainer Gary Hall senior’s three runners, Pelusiac, Elegant Christian and Soho Starr.
All three geldings are racing with tremendous zest and should fight out the finish of the 2130m event for two-year-olds.
My suggestion for the trifecta would be to select Pelusiac as the winner and couple the other Hall runners for second and third.
The New Zealand-bred Pelusiac has been most impressive in scoring effortless victories at his first two starts, beating All Williams by eight lengths at a 1.58.7 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra three Mondays ago and then winning by four lengths from Soho Starr, rating 1.59.2 over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Monday of last week when he sped over the final 800m in 56.4sec.
Pelusiac will start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line, with Soho Starr starting from the No. 2 barrier on the front line and Elegant Christian out wide at No. 6.
Soho Starr started from barrier seven, settled in last position and finished strongly from sixth at the bell when a last-start second to Pelusiac. He worked hard in the breeze before winning at Northam and Gloucester Park in July.
Elegant Christian, bred in New Zealand, made an outstanding debut when he set a brisk pace and won by four lengths from Batavia Ace over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday of last week. He was not extended in sprinting over the final 800m, 56sec. and he rated 1.56.8.
All Williams, trained by, broke through for his first win when he raced behind the pacemaker Samuel Colt and made full use of the controversial sprint lane to get up and snatch victory by a nose from that gelding over 2185m at a 2.4.1 rate at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. He will again be driven by from the prized No. 1 barrier.
HAS THE ANSWERS LOOKS THE GOODS FROM THE No. 1 BARRIER
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 on Friday night.
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 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. 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 trainerhas 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 reinsmanin 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