Day At The Track

Lewis opts for Lovers Delight

10:52 AM 05 Aug 2015 NZST
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Chris Lewis - Went for Lovers Delight over Dynamite Dude for Friday night
Chris Lewis - Went for Lovers Delight over Dynamite Dude for Friday night

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive Lovers Delight in preference to the richly-talented six-year-old Dynamite Dude in the $35,000 Howard Porter Memorial over 2130m at the harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Lewis has been in the sulky in all of Dynamite Dude's 18 starts in Western Australia for 12 wins, one second, four thirds and a fourth placing.

But he chose to drive the Stephen Reed-trained Lovers Delight for two main reasons --- because the gelding put up a tremendous performance to finish a close second to the brilliant Waylade last Friday night and because he drew much better at barrier four on the front line, with Dynamite Dude out wide at barrier No. 8.

He also considered that Lovers Delight's winning prospects were better, taking into account that he is harder in condition after several excellent runs in his current preparation, whereas Dynamite Dude will be making his first appearance since setting the pace and winning the Autumn Championship from Crombie and Northview Punter on March 6.

Both Lovers Delight and Dynamite Dude are being aimed at the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December.

Strong performances in the months leading up to the series will enhance their prospects of earning a start in the championship.

The New Zealand-bred Lovers Delight has a 41 per cent winning record (19 wins from 46 starts) as well as recording ten seconds and three thirds.

He was a 24/1 chance in a 2536m mobile event last Friday night when he started from the outside (No. 9) on the front line.

He settled at the rear before Lewis sent him forward with a three-wide burst after a lap.

He moved into the breeze before Waylade (who followed his run) assumed the position outside the pacemaker Bettors Fire 1300m from home.

Waylade burst to the front with 250m to travel and Lovers Delight ran home with great determination to finish second, only a half-length from the winner, who rated a smart 1.55.7.

Ross Olivieri, who trains Dynamite Dude at Oakford, said that he would engage Matt White to replace Lewis in the sulky behind the Victorian-bred six-year-old.

Olivieri said that Dynamite Dude had scored an impressive trial win against moderate opposition at Byford last Sunday week.

Dynamite Dude dashed over the final quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.593 in beating stablemate Awesome Desire by more than seven lengths.

"First-up from barrier eight I don't see him troubling the scorer," Olivieri said.

"It would be nice for him to be a running on fourth or fifth."

"I plan to give Dynamite Dude about five or six runs before the interdominion series; two starts in August, two in September and two in October."

Olivieri also will be represented by Our Blackbird (Stuart McDonald) and Red Salute (Chris Voak) in the Porter Memorial this week.

He gives Red Salute a place chance from the inside barrier and is hoping that Our Blackbird has some luck after starting out wide from barrier seven.

Our Blackbird has finished second at each of his past four starts after finishing strongly to win from Lovers Delight and Red Salute over 2100m.

Lewis is hoping that Lovers Delight will give him his second success in the Porter Memorial, after scoring with Hilarion Star in 1992.

Lovers Delight is likely to vie for favouritism with Bettors Fire, Classic American and Our Jimmy Johnstone.

Bettors Fire, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, will start from barrier five and Harper is likely to steal a march on the opposition by sending the classy six-year-old to an early lead before dictating terms in front.

Bettors Fire began brilliantly from barrier six last Friday night and set the pace before wilting to fifth behind Waylade over 2536m.

The shorter journey will be in his favour this week.

Our Jimmy Johnstone, another interdominion championship prospect, is in grand form for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and he cannot be underestimated.

Our Jimmy Johnstone impressed when he set the pace and won convincingly from Our Blackbird and This Time Dylan over 2130m last Friday week.

"Drawing the inside of the back row hurts," said Greg Bond.

"It's not an ideal draw and I'll leave the tactics to Colin (Brown).

"I'm happy with his work and am looking forward to the Inters."

Leading trainer Gary Hall sen. has four runners in the Porter Memorial, Classic American, Northview Punter, Crusader Banner and Vapour

He has trained and driven two winners of the feature event --- Make The Rules (1999) and Its Written In The Stars (2000).

Classic American appeals as his best chance.

He will start from the outside (barrier three) on the back line and should be storming home.

He has finished with a powerful burst to win 2503m standing-start events at his past two outings.

Ken Casellas

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