Gloucester Park review from Friday night

04:21 PM 10 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Busselton reinsman Aaron Beckett
Busselton reinsman Aaron Beckett

Five-year-old Dredlock Rockstar, the only West Australian-bred pacer in the field, made a mockery of his lowly assessment when he outclassed his ten rivals in the $30,000 Del Basso Smallgoods Parliamentarians Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His impressive all-the-way victory vindicated the decision of his owner Jamie Howlett and trainer Michael Callegari to throw the M1-class pacer in the deep end and challenge his vastly more distinguished opponents, including Sneakyn Down Under (M16), Dasher VC (M12), Ima Rocket Star (M11), Ohokas Dallas (M8), Shardons Rocket and Davy Maguire (M7).

And Busselton reinsman Aaron Beckett made the most of the unexpected opportunity to drive Dredlock Rockstar for the first time, a chance he received after the gelding’s regular reinsman Ashleigh Markham was suspended for 13 days the previous Friday night for causing interference when driving Dredlock Rockstar in the Mount Eden Sprint.

Dredlock Rockstar was a 40/1 chance in the Mount Eden Sprint when he gave an eye-catching performance in thundering home from 12th at the bell to be third behind star pacers Bettors Fire and Im Victorious. His prospects in the Parliamentarians Cup were boosted when he drew favourably at No. 2 on the front line.

He was solidly supported and started second fancy at 11/4 behind Dasher VC (5/2), with Ima Rocket Star at 9/2 from the outside of the back line.

Dredlock Rockstar bounded straight to the front and Beckett was able to get the gelding to relax and amble through the first 400m section of the final mile in a dawdling 32.1sec. before zooming over the next three quarters in 28.6sec., 27.9sec. and 28.3sec. to win at a 1.56.2 rate over the 2130m. He finished just over a length clear of polemarker and 60/1 outsider Ohoka Dallas, who trailed him throughout.

Shardons Rocket (12/1) raced in the breeze and fought on to be third, in front of Leda McNally and Ima Rocket Star, who ran, three wide, from tenth at the bell.

“It was a great pick-up drive,” said the 31-year-old Beckett. “I didn’t really want to get going too early, but the way the horse was travelling I couldn’t really hold him back any more. Once I pulled the plugs in the straight and got into him he just took off. ”

Dredlock Rockstar, who has overcome a fractured pedal bone, received in a race at Collie in March 2012, is proving to be a tremendous bargain for the 53-year-old Howlett, who paid just $3000 for him at the 2010 Gloucester Standardbred yearling sale. The gelding has now earned $100,056 from 12n wins and 17 placings from 41 starts.

Dredlock Rockstar was out of action for ten months after fracturing his pedal bone and he has returned to racing in wonderful form for the 37-year-old Callegari, who, like Howlett, has an eye for a bargain.

Callergari paid $2000 for Smokey The Bandit at the 2011 yearling sale and the pacer has already earned $64,465 from nine wins and 14 placings from 35 starts. Last December he outlaid $3000 for Make Me Grin, whose first 12 starts for him have yielded two wins and three placings for stakes of $11,813.

Dredlock Rockstar, by Canadian-bred stallion Northern Luck, was named after the popular reggae song Buffalo Soldier, written in 1980 by Bob Marley. The opening line of the song is: Buffalo Soldier, dredlock rasta.

Howlett purchased Dredlock Rockstar because he admired the toughness and longevity of the Albany-trained Bank the Money, who had 246 starts for 31 wins, 61 placings and stakes of $152,969. Bank The Money was out of Soky’s Maid, who also produced the Safely Kept mare Maid For Life, the dam of Dredlock Rockstar.

De CAMPO MAKES THE RIGHT CHOICE WITH DANIELJOHN

Young Capel reinsman Aiden De Campo made a split-second decision soon after the start of the $21,000 Del Basso Wholesale Meats Italian Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he opted to keep Danieljohn in the one-wide line instead of taking him to the pegs to follow the hot favourite and noted frontrunner Midnight Dylan.

Danieljohn raced in the breeze early before de Campo restrained to take the perfect sit, one-out and one-back. But with a slow early pace de Campo began to have misgivings about his decision.

After driving Danieljohn to a splendid victory at 10/1, the 21-year-old de Campo admitted that he was fully prepared to receive a blast from his father Andrew, the trainer of Danieljohn.

”Half way through the race, when they were walking, I thought I’d made the wrong decision and thought perhaps I should have been on the fence,” he said. “I was expecting to get a spray from Dad. But things worked out all right. I knew around the corner if I got the split he would be right in it because he was travelling so nicely.”

Danieljohn eventually got clear and he sprinted fast to burst to the front 20m from the post. He won by one metre from Midnight Dylan, with a neck to 12/1 chance Your Good Fortune, who fought on gamely after racing outside the pacemaker.

The expected challenge from 5/2 second favourite The Ragpickers Dream failed to eventuate. The Ragpickers Dream ducked his head at barrier two and broke into am gallop at the start, losing about five lengths. He started a three-wide move at the bell, but his run was short-lived and he wilted to finish ninth.

Danieljohn, who was having his first start since late June, was bred and is owned by John Bell, of Collie. He is a promising five-year-old stallion by Blissfull Hall who has raced 42 times for 17 wins, 14 placings and stakes of $153,312.

The winner of the San Simeon Classic and Harvey Cup earlier this year, Danieljohn moves to an M4 classification and gives every indication of developing into a contender in feature events at the coming summer carnival. He is the fifth foal and only winner out of Victorian-bred mare Aussie Evita, who had 81 starts for eight wins, 18 placings and $17,975.

BIT OF A LEGEND SOUNDS AN OMINOUS WARNING TO HIS RIVALS

New Zealand-bred stallion Bit Of A Legend sounded an ominous warning to his rivals in the coming series of rich events for four-year-olds when he sprinted home over the final 800m in 56.1sec. to score an effortless victory in the 2130m Sealanes Golden Nugget Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The son of Bettors Delight was unextended by Brent Mangos in scoring by more than three lengths from Galactic Galleon (14/1), with Northview Punter (4/1) a head away in third place. The winner, who started at 3/1 on, rated 1.57.1.

This gave the 49-year-old Mangos his first driving success in Western Australia. The Auckland horseman has been preparing Bit Of A Legend at Pinjarra while the horse’s trainer Cran Dalgety has been looking after his big team of pacers in Christchurch.

Bit Of A Legend, surprisingly beaten at 5/1 on at his WA debut the previous Friday night, gave the crowd in excess of 8000 a sample of his class with the ease of his victory.

And Mangos predicted better things were in store. “His work this week has been super and he has gone to another level from last week,” he said. “He has gone to the line strongly and should keep on improving. I wasn’t disappointed at all last week when he was narrowly beaten. It was a good effort at his first run for five months.”

Bit Of A Legend will now contest the $50,000 Retravision Four-Year-Old Championship next Friday night before tackling the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic the following Friday and the $175,000 Lancaster Cup Golden Nugget two weeks later.

He now has an impressive record of 34 starts for 17 wins, 11 placings and earnings of $638,928. He has won 13 times in New Zealand and has raced six times in Victoria for three wins, including the group 1 Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings at Melton in August 2012 when he defeated star New Zealander Border Control.

He raced twice at Menangle last March for a placing in a heat and a fourth in the final of the New South Wales Derby, won by Lennytheshark.

Bit Of A Legend started from barrier three on Friday night and burst to the front after 300m before cruising through the first two sections of the final mile in 31sec. and 30sec. Then he sped over the final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.8sec.

Galactic Galleon battled on gamely after trailing the pacemaker, while Northview Punter, who raced without cover over the final mile, was a fighting third.

VETERAN MISS AZOOMA STILL HAS GOT WHAT IT TAKES

The $40,000 Norm’s Daughter Championship next Friday week is the immediate target for veteran mare Miss Azooma, who caused an upset when she defeated 3/1 on favourite Askmenow in the 1730m Normandie Foods Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Miss Azooma, who started at 27/1, was having her third start after a let-up and her third run for young Byford trainer Josh Dunn. She had started at 125/1 and 30/1 when unplaced at her two previous starts, but she made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night.

Chris Lewis was content to take the sit with Miss Azooma behind Askmenow, who began speedily from the No. 2 barrier.

Askmenow, driven by Gary Hall jun., reeled off quick sectionals of 29.2sec., 29.2sec., 28.1sec. and 29.3sec., but was unable to hold off the fast-finishing Miss Azooma, who sprinted strongly to hit the front 40m from the post. Korobeit Angel (10/1) ran on from fifth (pegs) at the bell to be third, with Famous Alchemist (25/1) running home strongly from last at the bell to be fourth.

Miss Azooma, bred and owned by Travis Bull, went into Friday night’s event with unplaced efforts at her five runs since leading and winning the Race For Roses, a 2503m stand, at Gloucester Park last May. The veteran of 144 starts has earned $132,467 from her 15 wins and 36 placings.

“When I drove her previously (two starts ago) she did run well (eighth behind Bettor Dreams),”Lewis said. “I thought she was some sort of chance tonight, coming off a soft run and a good pace. And she got a perfect run and was able to run over the top of them.

“Josh has done a great job with her. He’s got her in top-class order and I think he’s a trainer of the future.”

SUVALJKO PLAYS THE WAITING GAME WITH BALLAS AROCKSTAR

Shannon Suvaljko played the waiting game and managed to get outsider Ballas Arockstar through a needle-eye gap in the closing stages to get up and snatch victory from Deluxe Edition and Say It Now in the 2130m Phil Coulson Memorial Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Starting at 37/1 on the tote, mainly because of his unfavourable draw ion the outside of the back line, Ballas Arockstar was taken straight to the inside by Suvaljko, who made a snap decision to drive for luck.

“Before the race I was planning to track up three deep, but no one went to the fence,” he said. “This horse goes better on the fence, so that’s where I went. From there it was a case of wait, wait, wait.”

Ballas Arockstar settled down in fifth place, three back on the pegs while polemarker Fully Zapped led from the 2/1 second favourite Big And Smooth on his outside and Say It Now (11/1) behind the leader. Deluxe Edition, the 5/4 favourite, slotted neatly into the one-out, two-back position.

Chris Voak sent Deluxe Edition forward, three wide, approaching the bell and the mare, who raced ungenerously in the back straight, eventually got to the front 380m from home.

Fully Zapped fought back doggedly and looked set to fight out the finish with Deluxe Edition before Suvaljko squeezed between those two pacers to forge to the front in the final couple of strides. Ballas Arockstar scored by a head from Deluxe Edition, with Fully Zapped a neck away in third place.

Ballas Arockstar, a seven-year-old trained by Shane Tognolini, ended a losing sequence of ten and took his record to 111 starts for 16 wins and 45 placings for $141,256 in prizemoney. He is still a Metropolitan maiden performer.

He has been an honest and consistent performer since making a wonderful start to his career when his first five starts as a two-year-old in January-February 2009 produced four wins and a second. Those runs included his victory in the $70,000 group 2 WA Sales Classic by a head over Robbery.

His dam Gail Force Lombo managed just one win (at Kalgoorlie in August 2003) from 19 starts. His great granddam Pliability produced nine winners of 79 races, including Mon Amigo (149 starts for 20 wins, 47 placings and $163,516).

Pliability’s mother Our Miss Andre produced smart performer Wipe The World, who had 55 starts in New South Wales in the 1980s for 18 wins, 18 placings and $210,464.

FAST-FINISHING THIS TIME DYLAN GIVES HALL A NOTABLE MILESTONE

Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. notched the wonderful milestone of training 1500 city winners when his younger son Gary drove This Time Dylan to an impressive last-to-first victory in the Action Industrial Catering Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

For most of the 2130m event Hall sen. held high hopes of achieving this notable record through Sanjaya, who was being driven confidently in the lead by his elder son Clint.

This Time Dylan started from the outside of the front line and was restrained back to last position before Gary Hall jun. started a three-wide move approaching the bell. The 2/1 favourite, a winner at his three previous starts in stands, went four wide at the 300m and finished in dashing style to burst to the front 100m from the post. He went on to win by 4m at a 1.57.6 rate from Sanjaya (9/4), with last-start winner Artorius (13/1) running home strongly to be third.

“He was an absolute lunatic when he arrived at our stables,” said Hall jun. “But recently he has settled down and is racing in wonderful form.”

This Time Dylan, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old, has had 24 starts in WA for eight wins and three placings to take his career record to 32 starts for 11 wins, six placings and stakes of $91,625.

OUR BOY SU HOLDS VISITING NOWITZKI AT BAY

New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Our Boy Su bounced back to form and caused an upset when he set the pace and beat highly-regarded Victorian four-year-old Nowitzki in the 2130m BLVD Tavern Joondalup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Nowitzki, favourite at 10/9 on at his WA debut, began speedily from the outside of the front line, but the efforts of his trainer-driver Daniel Jack to get him to an early lead were thwarted when Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop drove the polemarker Our Boy Su hard to retain the front.

Jack then was forced to race without cover and Mellsop stole a tactical march on his rivals by getting Our Boy Su to relax and dawdle through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.9sec. before going through the next quarter in a comparatively easy 29.6sec.

Then Mellsop upped the tempo and Our Boy Su dashed over the final sections in 28.5sec. and 29.2sec. as he fought on grandly to keep the favourite at bay. Our Boy Su held on to win by a head, with What God Knows (16/1) finishing gamely to be a neck away in third spot. The winner rated 1.58.9.

Our Boy Su, who had finished at the rear at his two previous outings, was an 11/1 chance, mainly because he had drawn the prized No. 1 barrier.

“He grows a leg in front,” Mellsop said. “It was a risk to hold out Nowitzki. I probably would have run second if I had sat up (and taken the trail). But we’ve won and winners are grinners. He got a virus and hasn’t been right at his past couple of starts. I was pretty sure I had him right, but you don’t know until you front up.”

This was Our Boy Su’s fifth win from 18 starts for Mellsop in WA and the Elsu gelding now has had 55 starts for 11 wins, 15 placings and $93,493 in prizemoney.

CARTERS ROCKET IS BRED TO BE A GOOD WINNER

Carters Rocket, the all-the-way winner of the 1730m Italian Association Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, is closely related to former star mare Tupelo Rose, who made a flying visit to Perth in December 2000 before becoming a prolific winner in America and Canada.

In her two WA starts Tupelo Rose, driven by Ted Demmler, finished fourth behind Highest Honour in the McInerney Ford Classic and sixth behind Seelster Sam in the Golden Nugget Championship. The previous season she was successful in the Victorian, Queensland and Australian Oaks. She ended her brilliant career in the United States with a record of 101 starts for 35 wins, 25 placings and stakes of $879,867.

Carters Rocket, a five-year-old by Elsu, is the second foal out of the unraced Pocket Rose, whose mother Hollywood Rose was the dam of Tupelo Rose. Carters Rocket has yet to reveal any of the brilliance of Tupelo Rose, but he is proving a handy performer for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and owners Greg Bond, Kevin, Rob and John Gartrell, Andrew Foster and Craig Hampson.

After two wins from seven starts in New Zealand, Carters Rocket has had 26 starts in WA for seven wins and seven placings.

Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner of the Merredin Cup at Kellerberrin, then was beaten into seventh place behind Famous Alchemist over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday afternoon. But he was a warm favourite at 5/4 on on Friday night, mainly because he was starting from the prized No. 1 barrier.

Colin Brown sent carters Rocket straight to the front and after modest quarters of 30.3sec. and 30.7sec. Carters Rocket sped over the final two sections in 28.6sec. and 27.5sec. to win at a 1.56.6 rate by 4m from 6/1 chance Ardens Southee, who trailed the leader throughout Soho Highroller was third after racing without cover.

“After drawing barrier one I was confident,” Brown said. “Forget his run at Pinjarra on Monday. I put my hand up straight away. It was my blue that the horse didn’t run in the first three at Pinjarra. And I thought his run was quite good, considering the times they ran.

“I always thought that Carters Rocket had a bit of ability, but he hasn’t been convincing. Hopefully, this time he will keep stepping up. I just flicked him up in the straight, nothing too serious. The plugs are still in.”

TURNPIKE CRUISER OVERCOMES A BAD START

Former Tasmanian performer Turnpike Cruiser was solidly supported to start at 9/2 in the 2503m IAWCC Italian Community handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But his supporters groaned when he galloped at the standing start and dropped back to the rear.

However, Chris Lewis bided his time and brought the New Zealand-bred six-year-old home with a well-timed three-wide burst from eighth at the bell to hit the front in the final 80m and win by a length from 11/2 chance Jar Zinyo, with a metre to Multibet (14/1) in third place.

“I was relying on a good start, which we didn’t get,” said Lewis. “But we did get a good cart into the race, so everything worked out well. I was fairly confident at the 300m that we were going to get over Jar Zinyo.”

For Turnpike Cruiser, trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri, this was his first success from eight starts in WA after having won 12 races in Tasmania and three in Victoria. He now has earned $119,148 from 16 wins and 30 placings from 74 starts.

Melton Express, the 10/9 on favourite, ruined his chances with a tardy getaway and he finished tenth. Brown took Melton Express three wide after 600m, but the five-year-old was unable to muster sufficient speed in a concerted bid to get past the pacemaker, his stablemate False Promise, a 32/1 chance.

Melton Express then raced without cover before receiving a bad check approaching the home bend.

EL MACHINE MAKES IT FOUR WINS IN A ROW

Up-and-coming star El Machine gave promise of better things to come when he produced a sparkling finishing burst to score an easy victory in the 2130m first heat of the Little Caesars Pizzerias The Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His stylish win over Pembrook Henry and Menelaus of Sparta was his fourth success in a row and the WA-bred five-year-old is developing into a realistic prospect for the rich summer carnival events.

Part-owner and trainer Kade Howson did not bustle El Machine, the 2/1 on favourite, early from the No. 5 barrier and was content to let him settle in eighth position as 17/1 chance and polemarker Menelaus of Sparta set the pace from Johnny be, who had dashed forward early from the back line to race in the breeze.

Howson took El Machine, a $5000 yearling, three wide at the 100m mark and the gelding sprinted fast to take the lead 220m from home. The final quarters whizzed by in 28.1sec. and 28.3sec. and El Machine rated 1.57.4. This improved his record to 490 starts for 16 wins, 12 placings and $129,054.

“He’s really grown into himself now,” Howson said. “Regarding carnival events, those sort of races are all about timing, and he’s got a long way to go, but is still on the way up and is hitting form at the right time.”

by Ken Casellas

 

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