Day At The Track
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Top-flight reinsman Morgan Woodley describes Argyle Red’s most recent performance as terrific and he is confident the harness racing six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the opening event, the first heat of the TABtouch Nights of Thunder at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, is favourably drawn at barrier two in the eight-horse field, but will need to be at his top to beat the brilliant Talktomeurmattjesty and speedy mare Shes Artful in the 1730m event. There promises to be early fireworks, with Argyle Red, Shes Artful and Talktomeurmattjesty all expected to make determined bids for the early lead. On Tuesday of last week Argyle Red started from the outside of the back line and was ninth at the bell and tenth at the 650m before starting a four-wide move which carried him into second place, a neck behind Bad Round, rating a modest 1.58.1 after dawdling opening quarters of 32.1sec. and 30.7sec. “It was a terrific run,” said Woodley. “He had traffic issues from the 900m mark and had to go four wide a bit earlier than we would have liked. I thought he found the line really well and it was a real game run in defeat. His couple of runs before that (fourths behind Rock Diamonds and Herrick Roosevelt) were really nice after he had drawn poorly and got back in the run before running home in very nice time. He hit the line very strongly.” “This week, with the advantage of a good barrier draw, I think we can give the opposition a fair bit to chase. He’s a really high speed horse and given a bit of luck early by getting to the front, he should be able to run a fairly nice time.” “He is a very sharp horse off the gate, but Shes Artful also gets out nicely. Talktomeurmattjesty is also a very smart horse. However, Argyle Red has gone 1.55s when leading over 2100m at Gloucester Park. “If Argyle Red gets to the front and Talktomeurmattjesty sits on his outside, I think he will find it tremendously hard to get over him late. Argyle Red has a high cruising speed and he should make things pretty hard for the opposition.” The Debbie Padberg trained Bad Round, who raced three back on the pegs before sprinting home fast to win from Argyle Red last week, looks a star bet in the third heat of the Bet Now With TABtouch Im Themightyquinn Pace. He is perfectly drawn at barrier two and Shannon Suvaljko looks almost certain to set the pace with the five-year-old who is attempting to complete a hat-trick of wins. Suvaljko also has good prospects when he drives the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook from the prized No. 1 barrier in the TABtouch.com.au Pace. Bechers Brook raced in fourth position before finishing gamely to dead-heat for second with Mistahmistah behind the fast-finishing winner Marquisard last Friday week. Ken Casellas

Morgan Woodley has given harness racing punters an important lead by opting to drive Argyle Red in preference to Vultan Tin in the first qualifying heat of the Westside Auto Wholesale Clarke Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Argyle Red, trained at Pinjarra by Rob MacDonald, has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier, and Vultan Tin, trained at Coolup by Phil Costello, is favourably drawn at the No. 2 barrier. Woodley chose Argyle Red because he is impressed with the five-year-old’s frontrunning ability. He has driven Argyle Red eight times for four wins and one placings, including a stylish all-the-way victory from barrier one over 2130m two starts ago. A week before that win, Woodley was in the sulky when Argyle Red worked hard without cover before winning in convincing style from McClinchie over 1730m. Woodley has driven Vultan Tin 51 times for seven wins and 15 placings, including an all-the-way win over 2536m from barrier two five starts ago. Chris Voak has completed a term of suspension and will handle Vultan Tin on Friday night. Argyle Red and Vultan Tin will not have things all their own way, with strong opposition expected from several pacers, especially Twoandahalf Tigers, Gaz Wannabet, Char Do Neigh and Bad Round. Twoandahalf Tigers, trained by Gary Hall sen., is wonderfully consistent and can never be left out of calculations. He finished solidly along the inside when fourth behind Kiwi Legend and Bungalow Bill last Friday night. Gaz Wannabet, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, also rarely performs below par. He will be driven by Ryan Bell, who replaces regular reinsman Ryan Warwick, who was suspended for causing interference in the final race last Friday night. Gaz Wannabet raced three wide for most of the 2190m journey when an extremely close second to Must Be Nice at Northam at his latest appearance. Ken Casellas

Pinjarra breeder-owner-trainer Rob MacDonald is on a roll and he should continue his wonderful winning streak at Gloucester Park on Friday night with his improving harness racing five-year-old Argyle Red looming large as the winner of the $20,000 TABradio Pace, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier. Star reinsman Morgan Woodley, riding on the crest of a wave, is confident of success, declaring: “I think he will show what he is capable of. I have not driven him in front, but I have seen him lead and win.” Woodley has built up an excellent rapport with Argyle Red, having driven him six times for three wins and a second. He drove confidently last Friday night when Argyle Red raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front on the home turn and winning by a length and a half from the favourite McClinchie. Argyle Red rated 1.55.9 over 1730m. “Sitting in the breeze, doing a bit of work and running away from them late was quite encouraging,” Woodley said. “I think the distance (2130m) this week is suitable and he should prove terribly hard to beat. “I’ll be aiming to lead on Friday night, even though he can be a bit of a strange customer, who has a tendency to look around and race a little bit greenly.” Argyle Red is by American stallion Dawn of a New Day and is the first foal out of Dekker Diamond, a mare owned and trained by MacDonald who had 109 starts for eight wins, 16 placings and $63,249 in stakes. Dekker Diamond, by crack New Zealand pacer Iraklis, the winner of the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park, was driven once by Woodley for a ninth behind Fake Occasion at Gloucester Park on October 3, 2006. Argyle Red has set the pace and won four times, twice at Gloucester Park and twice at Pinjarra. MacDonald also bred, part-owns and trains Davinci Diamond, the second foal out of Dekker Diamond, who has sound prospects in the $50,000 Caduceus Club Classic on Friday night. Davinci Diamond, by Artiscape, has won at each of his past three starts, with Woodley in the sulky for the colt’s latest two wins, substituting for Aiden de Campo when he was serving a term of suspension. De Campo will resume as Davinci Diamond’s driver this week. Ken Casellas

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