Day At The Track

Soho Tribeca fancied in $50,000 Sprint

05:43 PM 28 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Soho Tribeca, harness racing
Soho Tribeca
Gloucester Park Photo

Star harness racing trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice is fully aware that the pacemaker has won the past four Village Kid Sprints and that the leader has won in six of the past seven years. Therefore, he will be extremely anxious to take advantage of the favourable barrier No. 2 and attempt to lead all the way with Soho Tribeca in the $50,000 Group 2, 1730m event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Soho Tribeca, the only Australian-bred pacer in the quality field of ten, has raced only once over 1730m when he finished a head second to the brilliant Chicago Bull in the Mount Eden Sprint six starts ago, on October 20 when he worked hard on the outside of the pacemaker Ohoka Punter before getting to the front on the home turn. The winner rated 1.51.6 to smash the track record for the journey.

Since that wholehearted effort, Soho Tribeca has enhanced his reputation with two commanding wins and a close second to San Carlo in heats of the Inter Dominion Championship before finishing with a determined burst to be sixth behind Lazarus in the $1.1 million final of the series.

Prentice knows what it takes to win a Village Kid Sprint (originally known as the Celebrity Sprint), having been successful with Baltic Eagle in 2004 and Rakarebel in 2011.

He trained Baltic Eagle, a 3/1 chance who raced without cover before taking the lead in the first lap and going on to win from La Valiente and the 7/4 on favourite The Falcon Strike.

He drove Rakarbel for leading trainer Gary Hall Snr when the 9/2 chance led from barrier one and defeated Real Life and Tartary Gladiator.

This year Prentice is certain to find Hall an extremely tough opponent. Hall, who is holidaying in New Zealand, prepares five of the ten runners --- Chicago Bull, My Hard Copy, Ohoka Punter, Norvic Nightowl and Zach Maguire.

Hall has won the Village Kid Sprint five times --- with The Falcon Strike (2003), Rakarebel (2011), Hokonui Ben (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (January 2016 and December 2016). He landed the quinella last December when 3/1 on favourite Beaudiene Boaz led from barrier two and held on to defeat Chicago Bull (a 7/1 chance from barrier four) by a head. The previous January he prepared the first three placegetters, Beaudiene Boaz (7/4 on), My Hard Copy (11/2) and Waylade (14/1).

Soho Tribeca possesses excellent gate speed and relishes the role of pacemaker. He should be able to cross the polemarker Zach Maguire, who will have the experience of starting from the No. 1 barrier for the first time in 17 mobile events in Western Australia.

Zach Maguire, who is in good form with two wins and three seconds from six starts in his current campaign, has good, but not exceptional, gate speed. He started from the No. 4 barrier and led after 90m before going on to win by a half-length from Motu Premier over 2130m in July this year.  Zach Maguire will be driven by Lauren Jones.

He started from barrier five and got to the front after 150m when he won from The Spinster over 2130m six months earlier. At his only appearance over 1730m, he started out wide at barrier seven and impressed in finishing powerfully from seventh at the bell to win by six lengths from Frostyflyer at a 1.52.6 rate.

Chicago Bull is handily drawn at barrier three and is sure to prove hard to beat. He has won at each of his past four appearances over 1730m and maintained his wonderful form when he trailed the pacemaker Tiger Tara and finished strongly to be second to Lazarus in the 2936m final of the Inter Dominion championship three Fridays ago. Chicago Bull will be driven by Stuart McDonald, who replaces the suspended Gary Hall Jnr.

Inter Dominion finalists Galactic Star and Have Faith In Me, like Chicago Bull, are brilliant sprinters and should be prominent on Friday night. Galactic Star, trained by Skye Bond and driven by Ryan Warwick, has raced once over 1730m for a win and his two starts over 1609m at Bunbury resulted in another two wins. He excels at Gloucester Park where his 14 starts have produced seven wins, two seconds and one third.

Galactic Star is closely related to former millionaire pacer Iraklis, winner of the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park. He won a heat of the Inters in Bunbury last month and caught the eye with a fast-finishing fifth at 90/1 in the final. He will start from the No. 4 barrier on Friday night.

Aiden de Campo has been engaged to drive millionaire six-year-old Have Faith In Me (barrier five). He won four Group 1 classics as a three-year-old in New Zealand and as a four-year-old he won the Group 1 Auckland Cup and had four starts, all over 1609m at Menangle in January and February 2016 for four wins --- in 1.52.1, 1.53.2 (Group 2 Paleface Adios Stakes), 1.48.8 (Chariots of Fire) and 1.47.5 (Miracle Mile).

Chris Lewis has been engaged to drive Ohoka Punter, Nathan Turvey will be in the sulky behind Norvic Nightowl and Clint Hall will handle dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy.

Ken Casellas

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