Day At The Track

Kens preview for Gloucester Park Friday

10:31 AM 11 Sep 2013 NZST
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Colin Brown
Colin Brown - And connections of Ima Rocket Star

Ace reinsman Colin Brown has driven the brilliant Ima Rocket Star at 39 of his 42 Australian starts for 18 wins and ten placings and he declared that the New Zealand-bred eight-year-old is at the peak of his powers and is poised for victory in the $21,000 Media Guild Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“He should be holding up from the No. 1 barrier and should set the pace,” he said.

Ima Rocket Star, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was most impressive at his second appearance after a two-month break when he began speedily from out wide at No. 6, charged to the front after 400m and won the 2536m New Season Pace over 2536m at a 1.56.4 rate last Friday night.

“It was the best he’s ever felt,” Brown said. “He was trying to kick me in the parade ring, and that’s a sign that he’s spot on when he’s trying to give you both barrels.

“It was a sensational run; to get hammered and to run the times that he did was outstanding, particularly taking into account that he overraced a bit in front which is unusual for him. Taking everything into consideration I thought it was a terrific run. I’d have to say there is obvious improvement in him and the 2130m this week will be more advantageous.”

Brown and the Bonds are hoping that Ima Rocket Star will give them their first victory in the Media Guild Cup, which was first run in 1979. Greg Bond trained Mister Odds On (Michael George) when he raced in the breeze and finished third behind Hombre Higgins in the 2009 Cup; he trained Eastwood Fire when Brown drove him into third place behind Has The Answers in 2011 and last year the Bonds trained 16/1 chance Can Return Fire when Brown brought him from the one-out, one-back position to finish second to the pacemaker Banana Dana.

Outstanding seven-year-old Lombo Navigator looms as the main rival to Ima Rocket Star. The Andrew De Campo-trained gelding will start from the No. 2 barrier at his first start for seven months and looks likely to race in the breeze.

His most recent success was four starts ago when he began from the back line, started a three-wide run after 650m and worked in the breeze over the final 950m before getting to the front in the home straight and beating the fast-finishing Mysta Magical Mach over 2130m last January.

Ten-year-old Rocket Reign will start from barrier six and should be running on strongly. He resumed after a spell last Friday night when he surged home from ninth at the bell to be second to Ima Rocket Star.

Please Release Me will start from the No. 3 barrier and he should also be running on strongly in the closing stages.

The Bonds also have excellent prospects in the second heat of the 2130m TABtouch The Warwick Pace in which the talented New Zealand-bred five-year-old Your Good Fortune looks capable of overcoming a wide draw (No. 6).

Your Good Fortune was favourite at 2/1 on when he finished third behind stablemates Our Major Mark and False Promise over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. That followed wins at his two previous starts.

He started from out wide at barrier seven, was restrained to last and raced three and four wide in the final circuit before hitting the front 220m from home. Brown, who drove Our Major Mark in Monday’s race, said that Your Good Fortune was capable of making amends for that defeat.

“It was a good run on Monday and it should have topped him off for Friday night’s race,” he said. “He’ll be going forward.”


Starting from the outside of the back line is far from the ideal draw in a 1730m event at Gloucester Park, but reinsman Chris Voak believes that Leda McNally has the class to overcome this disadvantage and win the David Lamond, Most Winners In A Night Pace on Friday night.

Leda McNally drops considerably in class after producing a highly creditable performance to run on from seventh at the bell and finish fifth behind Ima Rocket Star over 2536m last Friday night.

“It was an even more impressive effort, considering that she had to pull a flat tyre of her sulky for more than the final circuit,” said Voak, who drove stablemate Lord Lombo in the race. “She hit the line well.

“I think there will be some speed early in Friday’s race and Leda McNally should get into a favourable position. She is no certainty, but I’m sure she has a very good chance of winning. Lucie Boshier will be tough to beat. She went well last Friday night.”

Lucie Boshier will start out wide at barrier seven on the front line and Chris Brew is likely to press forward in the early stages. Lucie Boshier set the pace and had little peace before wilting over the final stages to finish fourth behind Empire Flame, who rated 1.55.1 over 1730m last Friday night.

The Ross Olivieri-trained Arousing has sound prospects from barrier three. She trailed the pacemaker Beautiful Night before finishing strongly to win from that mare over 1730m at a 1.56.6 rate last Friday night. Her past six starts have produced four wins and a second placing.

Robbie Williams has been engaged to drive Arousing for the first time. “It’s a step up in class for her, but with then right sort of run she should go well,” he said.


“He’s worked on in good style this week and he’s as a happy as a king,” declared young Henley Brook trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams when assessing then prospects of J Walker in the 2503m Stuart Lowe, Leading Tipster Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“I expect him to be hard to beat and have a good chance of making amends for his narrow defeat last week when he met with interference and got out of his gear for 20 or 30 metres when Our Classie Mach galloped at the start.

“He lost a heap of ground, about 30 to 40 metres and to catch the rest of the field and come wide and go down by a nose was a massive run. And he’s pulled up super.”

J Walker, who started from 10m in the M0 event, was 11th at the bell and he flew home, out wide, to just fail to overhaul Shardons Rocket, the backmarker off 30m. This week over the same distance (2503m) J Walker will start from 20m and Shardons Rocket from 40m.

Williams said that he was not concerned at the 20m handicap. “As long as I can make a safe beginning and keep out of trouble I’ll be happy,” he said. “I’d rather sit back in the field so that I can get a cart into the race. He can do a little bit of work, but he’s essentially a sit-sprinter. I believe he’s better put into the race with a cart, and he’s got a quick quarter in him.

“I’ve had a few feet problems with him, but everything seems to be pretty right at the moment and he’s spot on.”

Williams has only recently taken over the preparation of J Walker and the seven-year-old’s first three starts for his new trainer and driver have produced a third to Braemoor and seconds to Gday Mate and Shardons Rocket.

Shardons Rocket is well handicapped and has sound prospects of repeating his victory of last week when he sustained a spirited three-wide burst from the rear in the middle stages.

Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. gave punters a good pointer when he chose to drive frontmarker Senator Whitby for Northam trainer Glenn Elliott in preference to This Time Dylan (trained by his father Gary Hall sen.) and the Michael Brennan-trained Jambo Emali, who will be driven by Morgan Woodley.

Senator Whitby ended a losing sequence of nine in fine style in Kalgoorlie last Friday night when he was driven by Lang Inwood and finished powerfully from sixth at the bell to win by almost four lengths from Soho Daytona over 2118m.

Chris Voak said that eight-year-old frontmarker That is Correct had each-way prospects, particularly if he was able to set the pace. “That Is Correct set the pace last Friday night and copped plenty of pressure from Balleybofey before finishing a close fourth.

“I’d like to be able to lead, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to cross Senator Whitby, who looks set to run a big race.”


Champion trainer Gary Hall insists that New Zealand-bred two-year-olds Elegant Christian and Pelusiac have equal ability and should fight out the finish of the 1730m The Form Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“There’s nothing between the two horses,” he said. “But the No. 1 barrier should swing things in favour of Elegant Christian. However, don’t be surprised if Pelusiac makes a race of it.”

The stablemates clashed over 2130m last Friday week when Elegant Christian started at 9/4 and proved too strong for Pelusiac, the 7/4 on favourite.

Pelusiac started from the back line and revealed good early speed to dash to the front after 350m. Elegant Christian worked hard without cover before getting to the front in the final 100m and beating Pelusiac by 1m.

“Pelusiac was used out of the gate and was rushed forward,” Hall said. “He is by Washington VC and a lot of horses by that sire don’t like to be used early. Im Themightyquinn is a perfect example. Pelusiac will take it easy at the start this week.”

Hall, who celebrated his 64th birthday on Monday and landed a double at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night with Northview Punter and Slick Chapel, is confident that the unbeaten Elegant Christian and Pelusiac will give him the quinella on Friday night.


Clinton Pearce, a part-time Middle Swan trainer, landed his first city winner when Jamie Rigoli brought 10/1 chance Spoilt Rich home with a strong burst from fifth at the bell to beat the even-money favourite Extreme Times in the 1730m SEW-Eurodrive Pace at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night.

The 29-year-old Pearce, an East Victoria Park finance broker, races Spoilt Rich, a five-year-old Rich And Spoilt gelding, in partnership with his wife Danielle, father Ross and brother Travis on lease from Frank Bratovich.

Pearce, who has spent five years assisting Bratovich with his team of pacers, now has trained three winners. Demon Possessed, a Life Sign five-year-old raced on lease by the Pearce family, was successful at Northam in June and at Kellerberrin last month.

Ross Pearce has been training pacers for about 30 years and has won races in recent years with Lagoon Express and McPicket. The closest he came to landing a Metropolitan-class winner was when 15/1 chance Shipps Colours finished second to Le Maillot Jaune in an M0 event at Gloucester Park on May 14, 2004.

by Ken Casellas


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