Day At The Track

The Bucket List gets his chance

03:04 PM 21 Jun 2018 NZST
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The Bucket List, harness racing
The Bucket List
Gloucester Park Photo

Trainer Michael Brennan and reinsman Michael Grantham are delighted at the way veteran pacer The Bucket List is performing and they are full of hope that the New Zealand-bred gelding will make amends for his desperately close second to Tricky Styx in the Winter Cup 12 months ago by winning the $25,000 feature event over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Bucket List is racing keenly and notched his fourth consecutive placing when he raced in the one-out and one-back position before finishing determinedly to be a neck second to Bettors Fire over 2130m last Friday night.

In last year’s Winter Cup The Bucket List was favourite at 2/1 and after starting from barrier six he ran home strongly from the one-out, one-back position to finish a half-head behind Tricky Styx.

He will start from the No. 6 barrier on Friday night and gets a good chance to turn the tables on outstanding nine-year-old Bettors Fire, who boasts a splendid record of 100 starts for 39 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $787,142.

The Bucket List (21 wins and 39 placings from 97 starts) has been placed behind Bettors Fire at each of his past three starts.

Friday night’s Cup appears quite an open affair, with the likely pacemaker Maczaffair, Tommy Be Good, Whozideawasthis, Major Catastrophe, Galactic Star and Our Jimmy Johnstone all having each-way prospects.

Whozideawasthis impressed last Friday night when he thundered home from tenth at the bell to win a 2536m event at a 1.55.8 rate from Major Catastrophe and Lets Chase The Dream.

Champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said that Whozideawasthis faced a stern test and a rise in class, but he said that the gelding was definitely an each-way chance from barrier three on the front line. “It’s a tough race and he will need a soft run off the speed,” he said.

Hall has driven the winner of the Winter Cup eight times scoring with The Falcon Strike (2003), Lookslikelightning (2005), Washakie (2008), Im Themightyquinn (2009), Davy Maguire (2012), Im Themightyquinn (2013), Machtu (2015) and Run Oneover (2016) and his father, Gary Hall Snr, has won the Winter nine times as a trainer with Kaydee (1994), The Falcon Strike, Iontheball (2006), Washakie, Im Themightyquinn (twice), Davy Maguire, Machtu and Run Oneover.

Nine-year-old Major Catastrophe rises in class, but he is a tough stayer, capable of a bold showing. He worked hard in the breeze for almost two laps before taking the lead 500m from home and finishing a head second to Whozideawasthis last Friday night.

Aiden de Campo, who drives Tommy Be Good for part-owner and trainer Katja Warwick, said that the six-year-old was getting close to returning to the winning list.

Tommy Be Good trailed the pacemaker Bettors Fire in a 2130m event last Friday night and fought on gamely when third to that pacer. He is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line this week.

“Tommy Be Good is flying and isn’t far off from winning,” said de Campo. “Two starts ago he carted Bettors Fire into the race and finished a half-length second to him.”

Ken Casellas

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