Day At The Track

Suvaljko opts for Highview Sadler

05:59 PM 03 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Shannon Suvaljko, harness racing
Shannon Suvaljko
Gloucester Park Photo

Shannon Suvaljko, fresh from landing the first five winners on the program at Albany on Sunday night, has given harness racing punters a significant lead by opting to drive Highview Sadler in preference to Burning Shadows, Our Jaccka Mara and Three Kings in the $20,000 Worldwide Printing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Suvaljko chose Highview Sadler despite the six-year-old boasting a losing sequence of 18 and having notched only one win from his past 45 starts. He was influenced by the gelding drawing the prized No. 1 barrier and by his encouraging performance at Bunbury on Sunday night when he raced three back on the pegs before finishing solidly along the sprint lane to be a close second to the pacemaker Wesley. 

Highview Sadler, trained at Byford by Peter Anderson, has a winning record of only seven per cent (five wins from 69 starts). However, he is a handy frontrunner who set the pace and won from Cyclonedomic at Gloucester Park in mid-September.

Highview Sadler is the lowest assessed pacer in the field of 12 with a C1 classification and his chief rival looms as James Galleon, a C8/M1-class performer who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from out wide at barrier seven on the front line.

James Galleon, trained by Gary Hall Snr, has been unplaced at his past seven outings, but he has the ability to bounce back to form at his third appearance after an absence of six months. He has won at nine of his 29 starts.

Suvaljko also has high hopes of taking full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by leading all the way with the Debbie Padberg-trained Bad Round in the Garrards Horse And Hound Pace over 2130m.

Bad Round showed a welcome sign of better things to come when he raced in the one-out and one-back position before finishing gamely to be third behind Carter Micheal over 2190m at Northam last Saturday night.

One of Bad Round’s main rivals appears to be the Anderson-trained Bronze Seeker, who is handily drawn on the inside of the back line. The previous time that Bad Round and Bronze Seeker clashed was over 2130m at Gloucester Park on December, Bad Round started from the No. 1 barrier and set the pace before fading to finish ninth behind Bronze Seeker, who started out wide at barrier eight and sprinted home fast from the rear to win from Abraxas Blues, rating 1.56.4.

Suvaljko is driving in peak form and has raced away to be the State’s leading driver after four months of the 2017-18 season, with 63 wins. He leads from Chris Voak (56 wins), Chris Lewis (55), Gary Hall Jnr (52) and Ryan Warwick (48).

Suvaljko’s best prospect on Friday night is outstanding four-year-old mare Maczaffair in the first qualifying heat of the Im Themightyquinn Pace. Maczaffair notched her 14th win from 32 starts when she led and beat Auctioneers Elsu by three lengths last Friday night. Another victory this week would come as an excellent present to trainer Mike Reed, who will celebrate his 63rd birthday on Saturday.

Ken Casellas

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