Oliver says Heez On Fire is ready to fire

11:24 AM 22 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Chris Lewis.jpg
Chris Lewis - driver of Heez On Fire.

Highly-promising four-year-old Heez On Fire is poised to break a losing streak of five by winning the $50,000 San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, according to Cardup trainer Rod Oliver.

Oliver was delighted when Heez On Fire drew the No. 2 barrier on the front line and said: "I'm very happy; that's the marble I had my eye on. I'd rather draw No. 2 than one. If you make a little fumble from one you're going to get buried. But from two you're in the moving line and all you have to do, hopefully, is maintain your spot.

"You're then in the firing line and you don't have to worry about getting a run. It's just what I wanted. Hopefully he can roll to the top. It's not imperative that he gets to the front, but, hopefully, he can.

"And if he can roll to the top and get a nice quarter before opening up at the bell, he will be very hard to beat. He has only got to reproduce the run that he produced last week and he'll be right in it. He pulled up a treat and has worked super since then. I've only light jogged him on the sand track at home and he felt really good this (Tuesday) morning. His heart rate was good and his recovery was good. I'm really happy with him.

"However, it's a big race and I expect plenty of opposition. Rowchester probably will come around early and if we go to the front he'll probably sit outside of us. There obviously will be some pressure, but if he gets a reasonable first quarter he is capable of running a good last half. If he doesn't get run into the ground he'll be running some good time for the final 800m."

Heez On Fire again will have the services of ace reinsman Chris Lewis, who should have little difficulty in getting the WA-bred gelding straight to the front. On the inside of Heez On Fire is The Black Lord, who resumed after a spell last Friday when he also started from the prized No. 1 barrier and surrendered the lead after just 50m to Atlastalone, who began speedily from barrier two.

Heez On Fire started from barrier two on the back line last Friday night when he settled down in sixth position before Lewis started a three-wide move approaching the bell. Heez On Fire sustained his effort and finished a splendid second (beaten by 1m) to Rowchester, who had worked hard outside the pacemaker Jay Bees Grin before gaining the upper hand 300m from home.

This followed wonderful runs when third at his two previous appearances. He charged home, out very wide, from tenth at the bell when third to Im Terrific and Rocky Marciano on December20. And at his previous outing, a fortnight earlier, he started from the outside of the back line and thundered home from 11th at the bell to be third behind Nowitzki and Smokey The Bandit in the 2536m group 1 Golden Nugget Championship.

Heez On Fire has earned $99,821 from eight wins and four placings from 19 starts and Oliver has high hopes that the gelding will develop into a quality fast-class performer.

The prospects of What God Knows, the fastest of the three heat winners last Friday night when he rated 1.57.4 after leading and holding on to defeat the fast-finishing Atomic Chip, diminished when he drew out wide at No. 6 on the front line. Ohoka Kentucky, a close and unlucky third in a heat behind Rowchester and Heez On Fire, also fared poorly in the random draw and will start from the outside of the front line.

Rowchester, to be driven by Gary Hall jun., will start from barrier three on the back line and should make a bold bid for victory. But a vastly superior draw should tilt the scales in favour of Heez On Fire.

Atlastalone impressed with his smart all-the-way win in a heat, will start from the inside of the back line, and the noted frontrunner will need plenty of luck to cause an upset.

Chris Voak will drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Four Sisters from barrier two on the back line, replacing Lewis. Morgan Woodley has been engaged to drive the Bruce Whiteman-trained outsider Atomic Chip. He will replace Robbie Williams, who will drive his own nomination Ohoka Kentucky.

DASHING TRIAL POINTS TO A STRONG SHOWING FROM LEDA McNALLY

A sizzling trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning is a strong pointer that Leda McNally will prove hard to topple in the 2536m Advance Attack Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

It was a most impressive performance, according to reinsman Chris Voak, who said that Friday night's event would be an early stepping stone to the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 2.

Due to an oversight Leda McNally was not nominated for the WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park last Friday night and Voak said that he was anxious to give the five-year-old mare a fast workout at Pinjarra on Sunday morning to prepare her for Friday night's assignment.

"I let her run, even though I had a good hold on her," he said. "I didn't think that we were running that quick. She rated 1.54.7, which I believe is the fastest time recorded over 2185m at Pinjarra. She missed the Pacing Cup run and needed a good sharp run. The way she went in the trial showed that she would have been more than competitive in the Cup

"She's a classy mare who has the score on the board and she's got a good chance on Friday. The Tony Svilicich-trained runners Shardons Rocket and Mysta Magical Mach will be favoured from barriers one and two. But Leda McNally is ready to run a strong race."

Leda McNally, a winner of 18 races from 47 starts, will begin from the No. 4 barrier and Voak is hoping the mare will get a good trail in the one-wide line. She reeled off smart quarters of 28.9sec., 29.5sec., 27.6sec. and 28.8sec. in Sunday's three-horse trial in which she beat stablemate Lord Lombo by five lengths.

Shardons Rocket, who will start from the No. 1 barrier, broke a losing sequence of 14 when he raced in the breeze before winning easily from the pacemaker tee Pee Village at a 1.58.1 rate in a 2692m claiming event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. That followed his excellent second to Gday Mate in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup Consolation at Gloucester Park last Friday night when he set a solid pace.

Svilicich has engaged Aldo Cortopassi to drive Shardons Rocket, with Chrism Lewis driving Pacific Warrior. Cortopassi has driven Shardons Rocket at eight of his 81 starts in Western Australia for four seconds and one third placing.

Morgan Woodley will return to the sulky behind Mysta Magical Mach, who looks ideally suited from barrier two. The last time Woodley drove Mysta Magical Mach was nine starts ago when the New Zealand-bred gelding won a 1730m Free-For-All at Gloucester Park last May, beating Uppy Son by a head, with has The Answers in third place.

Woodley has a wonderful record behind Mysta Magical Mach, with 20 victories, including the 2009 WA Pacing Cup.

Mysta Magical Mach, Shardons Rocket and Leda McNally will clash with Livingontheinterest, who put in a strong performance in the WA Pacing Cup last Friday night when he settled down in eighth position and raced wide over the final 1450m to finish seventh behind Hokonui Ben.

"His Cup run was good and if he had drawn a barrier in Friday night's race I would have declared him," said trainer Gary Hall sen. "He's right in this race."

HALL ADVISES PUNTERS TO "GET ON" LORD DIEGO FROM THE No. 1 BARRIER

New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Lord Diego has been unplaced at his past seven starts and has a losing sequence of ten. But champion trainer Gary Hall sen. advice for punters is to "get on" when the gelding lines up at barrier one in the 1730m Lancaster Park Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Lord Diego resumed after an absence of four months when he battled on from eighth at the bell to finish sixth behind Atlastalone over 2130m last Friday night.

"I was very happy with his first-up run," Hall said. "He is a strong stayer and he should lead and win."

Lord Diego, who has won at 12 of his 70 starts, will clash with the Ross Olivieri-trained Deluxe Edition, the youngest runner in the race who caught the eye with her excellent second to Talk About Mach over 2130m last Friday night.

Four-year-old Deluxe Edition (Chris Voak) was restrained back to last from the No. 5 barrier before she sustained a spirited three-wide burst from the 1050m to lose by half-a-length. She will start from barrier four this week and should fight out the finish.

Hall sen. also has high hopes for Toretto in the TABtouch-Home of Racing and Sports Betting Pace after the lightly-raced five-year-old's fine effort to finish a nose second to his more experienced stablemate Hokonui Ben in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup last Friday night.

Toretto, driven by Kim Prentice, sat behind the pacemaking Hokonui Ben before finishing fast to fail by the barest possible margin. Gary Hall jun. will replace Prentice, who will handle the polemarker, stablemate Whos Mistake in the 2130m event.

"Toretto will go forward and should win," said Hall sen. "Whos Mistake will not be handing up to any horse apart from Toretto, whose Cup run was not beyond my expectations. He's racing in great form and I considered that he was a definite place chance."

Hall has two of the fancied runners in the TABtouch Three-Year-Old Pace in Eyre Crusher and High Courage.

"I can't separate them," he said. "Gary will drive High Courage because the colt has a few problems ... he hangs and gets on one knee and does a few little things like that. Kim Prentice will drive Eyre Crusher."

High Courage, a winner of one race from only four starts, will begin from barrier three, with Eyre Crusher starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier.

At his second appearance after a spell High Courage had a very tough run in the breeze when a fighting second to the pacemaker Bettor Rules over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week.

Eyre Crusher, a winner at one of his two starts in New Zealand, has finished second at each of his three starts in Western Australia. He resumed after a spell at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he sprinted home fast to be second to the impressive Machtu over 2130m.

Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have two good prospects in the race in Black Mr Mach and Zacharia and the David Thompson-trained Hugh Victor and Bob Mellsop's last-start winner Bettor Rules will have many admirers in what should be one of the keenest betting races on the program.

Chris Voak, who has driven Prince of Whitby, Ginas Ingot and Soho Mercury to victory at each of their most recent outings, has given punters a lead by choosing to handle the Ross Olivieri-trained Prince of Whitby.

 

By Ken Casellas

 

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