Champion mare Bettor Cover Lover faces a daunting task at her first West Australian appearance when she contests the $50,000 Nepean Conveyors Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but the six-year-old’s trainer and driveris confident she will give a bold showing at her first start for five months.
“She got good speed and good stamina and she hasn’t got too many weaknesses,” the New Zealand trainer declared. “I’m sure she will acquit herself well. She will be going into the race probably about 80 per cent and she’s got a great record in sprint events.”
The random barrier draw certainly did not boost Bettor Cover Lover’s prospects. She drew the outside of the back line in the 1730m event. Another hurdle Bettor Cover Lover must overcome is the fact that only six mares have been successful in the 57-year history of the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship.
The most recent win by a mare was in 1992 when Rod Chambers drove Whitbys Miss Penny to victory over My Current Account and Antique Gold. Before that, Dainty’s Daughter won in 1970, Pyramus in 1971, Virgil Queen in 1977, Kiwi Cloud in 1978 and Line On in 1986.
The New Zealand-bred Bettor Cover Lover has raced 33 times for 19 wins, 11 placings and prizemoney of $996,156 for her West Australian owners Trevor and Colleen Lindsay. She has not raced since winning a $150,000 event in 1.53.8 over 1609m at Ashburton on June 2. She gave yet another sample of her tremendous class three starts before that when a strong-finishing third behind Im Themightyquinn and Terror To Love in the 2700m Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park in March.
Her wins have been over 1609m (two), 1700m (three), 1950m (three), 2000m (one), 2200m (six), 2240m (two), 2600m (one) and 2700m (one).
Bettor Cover Lover warmed up for the Mount Eden Sprint with a smart workout in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Saturday morning. She was smartest to begin from the No. 2 barrier and led early before sitting behind the pacemaker Dasher VC.
After modest 400m sections of the final mile in 31.5sec., 31.6sec. and 29.8sec. the pace went on and the final quarter whizzed by in a sizzling 26.6sec., with Dasher VC winning by a nose from Bit Of A Legend, with a neck to Bettor Cover Lover in third place and a long head to Leda McNally, the only other runner in the trial in which the winner rated 2.0.1.
“It was a nice trial by Bettor Cover Lover,” Mangos said. “I didn’t drive her out. She was only there for a workout.”
Mangos said that he would not worry about bringing Bettor Cover Lover to Gloucester Park during the week to get her accustomed to the track and surroundings. He had his first drive at Gloucester Park on Monday afternoon when unplaced behind New Zealand-bred four-year-old Three Kings.
“For a half-mile track it is a good track,” he said. “The surface is good and the bends are good. She’ll get around without any trouble. This will be her first look at the track, but that won’t bother her. She is pretty adaptable. Our track at home is an 800m track.”
Friday night’s clash between Bettor Cover Lover, rising star Im Victorious, Dasher VC and Bettors Fire will attract enormous interest among local sporting enthusiasts.
Im Victorious, undefeated at his six starts, all at Gloucester Park over distances ranging from 1730m to 2503m, in his latest campaign, will start from barrier two on the back line and reinsmanwill be looking for the five-year-old to produce a trademark withering finishing burst.
Im Victorious thundered home from eighth in the middle stages and fifth at the bell to win the 2130m Stratton Cup by three lengths from Ima Rocket Star last Friday week when he rated 1.55.9. The previous week he sprinted home powerfully from fourth at the bell to win the 1730m Members’ Sprint by 4m from Im Themightyquinn at a 1.53.5 rate.
His trainersaid that the gelding had thrived since his latest victory and he was looking forward to him meeting yet another challenge on his learning curve as he prepared for a grand circuit campaign.
Dasher VC was produced in splendid condition by Capel trainerfor his trial win at Pinjarra last Saturday, an effort which showed that the seven-year-old was capable of a bold first-up showing.
Dasher VC, a winner at 21 of his 45 starts for stakes of $627,342, will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line andis sure to have him in a prominent position throughout. Dasher VC, who led and won the 2936m Fremantle Cup from Im Themightyquinn and Lombo Navigator on January 18 this year, has not appeared since he raced wide early and then without cover before finishing third to Im Themightyquinn and Mysta Magical Mach over 2536m at Gloucester Park on February 16.
Adding great spice to Friday night’s feature event will be the appearance of up-and-coming star Bettors Fire, who has had seven starts in Western Australia for six wins and a very close second placing. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has drawn perfectly at No. 1 on the front line and traineris sure to attempt an all-the-way victory.
Bettors Fire boosted his growing reputation when he set the pace and scored a decisive victory over Ima Rocket Star in the 2536m Navy Cup last Friday night. He will again have an army of admirers when he faces the biggest test in his fledgling career.
Harper will be particularly keen to emulate the deeds of his father Lindsay and elder brother Donald. His father has won the feature sprint with Havago (2002) and Lively Medley (2004) before his brother was successful with Hayton Brain in 2007.
Lewis will be hoping that Dasher VC will give him his fifth win in the race. He has won with Village Kid (1987), Whitby Timer (1990), Flashing Star (1997) and Sneakyn Down Under (2008). Gary Hall jun., who will drive Uppy Son, has won the event with Bengeeman,and Im Themightyquinn (twice).
BIT OF A LEGEND TO WARM UP FOR RICH FEATURE EVENTS
Rarely does amaiden class event attract a great deal of attention. But this is far from the case when New Zealand-bred superstar Bit Of A Legend runs in the $17,500 Lancaster Park Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Already the four-year-old is a genuine champion and is the nominal favourite for the $50,000 Retravision Four-Year-Old Championship, the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic and the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park next month and early in December.
Bit Of A Legend has not raced since he scored an effortless victory in the Breeders Crown for three-year-old colts and geldings at Melton in Victoria on August 18. He also won the two-year-old leg 12 months earlier.
Bit Of A Legend is classes ahead of his 11 rivals in Friday night’s event in which he will be an extremely short-priced favourite. He has had 32 starts for Christchurch trainerfor 16 wins, ten placings and stakes of $621,918.
Dalgety and the stallion’s regular reinsmanare still in New Zealand and Auckland trainer has been looking after Bit Of A Legend at Rob Tomlinson’s Pinjarra property for the past fortnight.
Dalgety is confident of a first-up victory and he said that the horse had come back up really well after a brief spell. “He’s not the sort of horse you need to do a lot of work with to get back to full fitness,” he said.
Mangos is looking forward keenly to driving Bit Of A Legend for the first time on Friday night. “I have only ever watched him,” he said. “He is very good out of the gate and he seems pretty adaptable. This should be a nice race for him.”
Bit Of A Legend had a splendid pipe opener whendrove him in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra last Saturday morning when the horse finished full of running and covered the final 400m in 26.6sec. in finishing a nose second to Dasher VC.
Bit Of A Legend is awkwardly drawn, out wide at No. 6 on the front line in Friday night’s sprint. But he is all class and this should prove to be no disadvantage. The son of Bettors Delight has won at ten of his past 12 starts, with his only defeats in that period being by a head and a half-head.
He rated 1.56.7 and dashed over the final 400m in 26.7sec. when a head second to Border Control in the New Zealand derby at Addington last April and a half-head second to Border Control in the 1609m Emerald in which he ran the 1609m journey in 1.50.6, with the final 800m in 53.6sec. and the last 400m in 26.6sec.
The-trained Kiss Chasey will start from the prized No. 1 barrier and should finish second to Bit Of A Legend. A strong frontrunner, he has started from the No. 1 barrier six times for three wins, one second, one third and one fifth placing.
KOROBEIT ANGEL LOOKS ONE OF THE BEST BETS
Victorian-bred mare Korobeit Angel has won at five of her 11 starts in Western Australia for premier trainer Gary Hall sen. and she should enhance her claims for a start in the two feature events for mares late next month by winning the 2130m West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Korobeit Angel put the writing on the wall last Friday night when she worked hard without cover all the way and fought on with grim determination to finish a half-head second to the pacemaker and 7/4 on favourite Bettor Dreams at a 1.55.9 rate over 1730m.
That performance showed that she should be capable of overcoming the No. 5 barrier on the front line this week and proving too good for her eight rivals. She will again be driven by Gary Hall jun.
She will be one of 14 runners from the Hall stable which looks set for yet another highly successful evening. The stable also has high hopes for other mares in Askmenow (2536m Retravision Pace) and Chloe Vargarita (2536m Make Smoking History Pace.
Askmenow has won stylishly at her past four starts (since resuming from a spell) and will be strongly fancied in a field of seven which includes other Hall runners in Why Live Dangerously and Heavens Delight, as well as the-trained Hez The Bart Man, whom is very close to another win.
Chloe Vargarita impressed at her latest outing when she was last in the middle stages and finished fast to be second to Askmenow over 2130m last Friday week.
by Ken Casellas