Day At The Track

Lewis poised for fifth victory in feature

12:30 AM 25 May 2011 NZST
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Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis - in the national colours.

Brilliant mare Ima Spicey Lombo is a sprint specialist and she should maintain her crown as WA's Pacing Queen by winning the $35,000 WASBA Breeders Pace over 1700m at Gloucester Park on Friday night (May 27). A victory would give champion reinsman Chris Lewis his fifth success in this feature harness racing event, following wins with Tareena Bright (1985), Armbro Lucy (1993), Twinkle Paige (1997) and Meggie Dear (2001).

Ima Spicey Lombo, bred in New South Wales and owned by Mick and Freda Lombardo, has been surprisingly beaten at odds-on at her past two starts, will appreciate a return to mares’ company and she should carry too many guns for her rivals, even though she has the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier, No. 9.

She overcame the outside draw to win the Mares Mile at Gloucester Park late last December when she raced three wide early and then without cover before beating Nowuseeme by 14m, with Little Big Sister a half-length away in third place. She rated 1.55.1.

Again, Nowuseeme and Little Big Sister appear Ima Spicey Lombo’s chief rivals.

Ima Spicey Lombo, a five-year-old by Pacific Fella, is trained by Ross Olivieri, who trained and drove Miss Bo Scott when she won the Breeders Pace in 1992. Ima Spicey Lombo has an outstanding record in sprints, winning five times over 1760m at Harold Park, four times over 1609m at Menangle and once each over 1730m and 1700m at Gloucester Park.

Ima Spicey Lombo was favourite at 2/1 on at her latest appearance, at Gloucester Park last Friday week when she covered a lot of extra ground and finished fifth behind Aussie Reactor. She was at 10/1 on at her previous outing when she had a tough run in the breeze before finishing third behind Tsunami Lombo and Has The Answers.

Olivieri holds a strong hand in Friday night’s event in which he will also be represented by back-line runners Arctic Fire and Kamwood Holmes.

However, punters are expected to pin their faith in Ima Spicey Lombo, Nowuseeme and Little Big Sister.

Nowuseeme was most impressive last Friday night when she raced without cover before finishing strongly to win from the pacemaker Kamwood Holmes over 1700m. Little Big Sister, who started from barrier eight, raced at the rear and made up good ground on the pegs in the final circuit before being hopelessly blocked for a run in the home straight. She finished full of running with nowhere to go in tenth position.

Little Big Sister finished brilliantly, out five wide, from last at the bell to win the Breeders Pace 12 months ago. Driven by Colin Brown for trainer Greg Bond, Little Big Sister beat Nowueseeme by a length.

Brown, who also won this race with Montel in 2008, again will be in the sulky behind Little Big Sister, who can never be underestimated. She is sure to be storming home.

Boyanup trainer Kim Prentice is looking for his third success in the race after driving Classical Mover to victory in 2000 and Absolutely Ruthless in 2002. He will be represented by polemarker Little Angel, who will be driven by his son Justin. The No. 1 is a significant advantage at Gloucester Park, particularly over 1700m.

Partywiththedevil to give punters a flying start

Victorian-bred six-year-old Partywiththedevil won with such authority last Friday night that he should repeat the dose and give punters a flying start to Friday night’s meeting at Gloucester Park by winning the opening event, the Veolia Waste Management Claiming Pace over 1700m.

Trained at Hazelmere by Gary Hall sen., Partywiththedevil has drawn nicely at barrier four and Gary Hall jun. looks certain to make a strong bid for the early lead.

Partywiththedevil started from the No. 5 barrier in a 2100m claimer last Friday night when he dashed forward in the early stages before forging to the front in the first circuit. He relished the frontrunning role and scored easily by two lengths from stablemate Im Grant Lea.

The only possible fly in the ointment looks to be Dilinger Whitby, who will start from the No. 1 barrier for only the second time in his 53-start career. He started from the inside barrier at his third start in a race and at his Gloucester Park debut, in December 2006 when Ryan Warwick drove him to an all-the-way victory over Parsonemby over 2130m.

Dilinger Whitby raced wide early and then without cover before winning successive races in good style at Northam and Harvey last month. He started from barrier eight in a 2100m event at Gloucester Park last Saturday night when he was a hot 10/9 favourite.

He raced wide early and then without cover before Giles Inwood sent him to the front with 500m to travel. He battled on gamely when a good third to Jimmy Kelly and Barriettas Joy.

Jimmy Kelly, a sprightly ten-year-old in the Hazelmere stables of Brian Jones, finished determinedly from the one-out, one-back position to score by a head. He will start from barrier two in Friday night’s claimer.

Arma Harris, a winner at four of his past nine starts, will have admirers. He worked hard three wide early and then in the breeze when a fighting third behind Partywiththedevil and Im Grant Lea last Friday night.

Anvils Big Punt seeks to stay unbeaten at Gloucester Park

Four-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding Anvils Big Punt, the least experienced runner in the field, looks set to maintain his unbeaten record at Gloucester Park when he contests the Fresh Express Pace on Friday night.

A grand stayer, Anvils Big Punt should relish the 2506m journey. He is unbeaten at three appearances at Gloucester Park, scoring over 2503m twice and in the 2902m Easter Cup last month.

He was unlucky at his most recent appearance (only his 17th start) when he raced behind the pacemaker Franco Quarry over 2170m at Pinjarra last Monday week and was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage until the final stages when he finished boldly to finish second, a half-length behind Franco Quarry, with the final 400m taking 26.8sec.

Part-owned and trained at Hazelmere by Michael Brennan, Anvils Big Punt (Gary Hall jun.) will clash with other smart New Zealand-bred performers Cromac Johnny and Belhelvie and the Victorian-bred Artorius in what should be an exciting event.

The Grant Williams-trained Cromac Johnny is close to a win. He started from barrier eight and was restrained to last in a 1700m event last Friday night when he was hopelessly blocked for a clear passage in the last lap. He was under lock and key in 12thplace on the home turn and did not get clear until the final stages when he sprinted fast to finish sixth behind Magnum Opus.

Belhelvie, trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, is in sparkling form, with his past seven starts producing three wins, three seconds and a seventh placing when he was forced to cover a great deal of extra ground. Belhelvie, who will be driven by Matt White from barrier eight, raced three wide for most of the journey when a close second to Bus To Harland at Gloucester Park last Friday week.

The Skye Bond-trained Artorius gave a dazzling display to win at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Driven by Michael George, Artorius raced in last position and was tenth with 250m to travel before unleashing an explosive finish, out six wide, to win easily at a 1.55.5 rate from Miss Azooma and North Toa Luckstar over 1670m.

Lombo Navigator to resume after a spell

Four-year-old Lombo Navigator, a star of the past summer carnival when he won three feature events, will resume after a spell when he contests the Oakford Stockfeeds Pace over 2100m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

His clash with stylish last-start winners Ohoka du Nord and Bus To Harland and several other recent winners including Off The Cuff Lombo, will be a highlight of the ten-event program.

Trained at Capel by Andrew de Campo, Lombo Navigator has not raced since finishing seventh behind David Hercules in the Four-Year-Old Classic at Pinjarra in the first week of March.

Earlier in the year, Lombo Navigator was most impressive in winning the $50,000 Nights of Thunder and the $50,000 Governor’s Cup at Gloucester Park and the $30,000 Harvey Cup.

He has a good first-up record. He won at his debut, as a two-year-old at Pinjarra and was a first-up Bunbury winner at his next preparation. And at his third preparation, he was a close first-up second to Thomas With Steam at Gloucester Park.

Lombo Navigator, to be driven by Matt White, will start out wide at barrier eight, with Bus To Harland (Gary Hall jun.) better served at the No. 5 barrier and Ohoka du Nord (Grant Williams) starting from the outside of the back line.

The versatile Bus To Harland has worked hard before scoring in good style at Gloucester Park at his past two outings and he has excellent prospects of notching his 15thwin from only 34 starts. He has had six starts in WA for Byford trainer Ron Huston for four wins and two placings.

Ohoka du Nord won for the 13thtime from only 24 starts when he set the pace and beat Kamwood Girl and Flamin Tact over 2506m at Gloucester Park last Friday week.

by Ken CASELLAS

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