Day At The Track

Lewis eyes seventh win in Parliamentarians Cup

10:01 AM 06 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Dasher VC
Dasher VC

Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has won the $30,000 Sealanes Parliamentarians Cup six times since the race was inaugurated in 1993 and he has bright prospects of maintaining his great strike rate by driving Dasher VC to victory in the 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“He should improve a lot on his first-up run (when a fighting fourth behind Bettors Fire in the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint last Friday night) and Chris is happy with him,” said Aiden De Campo, son of the seven-year-old’s trainer Andrew De Campo.

“He will probably be doing the work in the breeze, but hopefully he’ll be good enough to win. He was always going to need the run last week, at his first start for almost nine months. We don’t hopple him in between runs and Dad works him in the cart in the bush.

“We have been keeping him off the track and confining him to bush work in an attempt to keep him sound. He’s got bad joints, but it’s nothing serious. He’s an old horse and it’s just a bit of wear and tear.”

The New Zealand-bred Dasher VC, who has amassed $629,342 in prizemoney from 21 wins and eight placings from only 46 starts, is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier six on the front line on Friday night and Lewis is likely to go forward in the early stages in a bid to get to the breeze or even take the lead.

There is no a great deal of natural speed on the inside of Dasher VC, apart from Please Release Me, who has been placed only twice from his past 11 starts. Please Release Me will start from the No. 5 barrier and it will be most interesting to watch what tactics Chris Brew adopts behind the speedy and versatile eight-year-old.

There is also little doubt that the Tony Svilicich-trained Shardons Rocket (Morgan Woodley) will go forward from barrier four. Shardons Rocket is racing with great heart and his effort when sixth behind Bettors Fire last week, when he raced three wide in fourth place for almost the entire journey, was full of merit.

But there is little argument that Dasher VC is certainly the class runner in the Cup. He gave a sample of his wonderful ability when he led and held on grimly to win the 2936m Fremantle Cup by a head from Im Themightyquinn last January.

A win this week by Dasher VC would help overcome the disappointment of Andrew De Campo when his pacer Lombo Navigator (driven by Matt White) set the pace until the final 150m when second to Im Themightyquinn in the Parliamentarians Cup over 2536m 12 months ago.

Lewis has won the race with Hilarion Star (1993), Heros Knight (1998), Our London Pride (1999), Jimmy Nail (2003), Competitive Edge (2006) and Ima Spicey Lombo (2010).

Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have a strong representation in Friday night’s race, with both Ima Rocket Star (Colin Brown) and Our Major Mark (Ryan Warwick) is splendid form and capable of winning, despite their back-line draws.

Greg Bond and Brown combined to win the 2004 Parliamentarians Cup with Money Magnet and Bond is extremely happy with the form of his runners. Ima Rocket Star, a winner at 25 of his 57 starts, raced four and three wide early and then without cover when a fighting second to Bettors Fire in the 2536m Navy Cup last Friday week. That followed wins over 2536m and 2130m and a splendid second to Im Victorious at his three previous outings.

Our Major Mark notched his 21st victory when stormed home from last 360m from home to win by two lengths from Hez The Bart Man over 2536m last Friday night.

Seasoned performer Davy Maguire has drawn nicely on the inside of the back line for his first start for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg. He was claimed for just $5000 by John and Debbie Padberg when he scored a stylish win at a 1.55 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park last Monday week.

“I quite like him,” said Mrs Padberg. “He’s fit and his track work has been very good.”

Leda McNally, the only mare in the race, is nicely drawn at No. 2 on the back line and she is capable of unwinding a sparkling late sprint. Dredlock Rockstar, an M1-class performer trained at Busselton by Michael Callegari, was a 40/1 chance when he impressed greatly last Friday night when he thundered home from 12th and last at the bell to be third behind Bettors Fire and Im Victorious. He will start from barrier two on the front line.


“He’s a noted frontrunner and loves this trip,” declared trainer Greg Bond when assessing Midnight Dylan’s prospects in the $21,000 Normandie Foods Italian Sprint over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Bond and his wife Skye, part-trainer of the New Zealand-bred five-year-old, are confident of success this week after preparing the winner of the Italian Sprint in the past three years. They have combined with ace reinsman Colin Brown to win the sprint with Motu Treasure in 2010 and 2011 and Kamwood Laughter last year. Motu Treasure (10/9 on) led from barrier four and won easily from Mon Gee and Tsunami Lombo in 2010 before he started from the No. 2 barrier and at 9/2 when he set the pace and held on to defeat the 6/4 on favourite Grinjaro by a nose in 2011.

Last year Kamwood Laughter was favourite at 5/4 on from barrier four. She raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to sixth at the bell. She was badly blocked for a clear passage in the back straight before she flew home, out wide, from sixth at the 250m mark to beat the pacemaker Elite Angel by a half-length.

Midnight Dylan, a winner at 12 of his 55 starts, gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win effortlessly from Empire Flame at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m two starts ago, at Gloucester Park five Friday nights ago. A week later he started from the No. 2 barrier when he challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead from polemarker Western Cullen.

After racing in the breeze for a while Midnight Dylan raced in the one-out, one-back position and failed to flatter, finishing sixth behind Western Cullen.

Bond said it would be wise to overlook that unplaced effort, saying: “Before his win the previous week he had had a couple of runs in Kalgoorlie and at his latest outing he was probably one and a half to two lengths off his best. So we took him home and freshened him up, which he has enjoyed.

“He’s now all good to go and we expect him to come out, fit and fresh and firing. He will be holding up from the inside barrier and leading. I’m looking forward to the race, now that he has drawn barrier one. That makes his job a tad easier, if nothing else. He’s not a certainty, because there are some good horses in the race, including The Ragpickers Dream and Danieljohn.”

The Bonds also have an excellent second string runner in the race in Your Good Fortune, a smart five-year-old with 14 wins from only 30 starts. Your Good Fortune, a winner at four of his past five starts, is drawn at No. 4 on the front line and will be handled by Ryan Warwick.

“Your Good Fortune is a horsed with more than a good share of ability,” Bond said. “If the race is run upside down and if he’s camped over them, he could be dangerous.”

Bond said that if Midnight Dylan won another couple of city races he was most likely to be sold to race in America. “We sold Kamwood Laughter to America and she has already won a few races at Yonkers,” he said. “Motu Treasure was sold to race in Adelaide, but after one start at Globe Derby Park he injured a leg. However, he’s on the mend.”

Aiden De Campo said he expected a good showing from Danieljohn, who will start from barrier three on the front line at his first appearance since late June. The winner of 16 races from 41 starts, Danieljohn gave a sample of his class when he won the group 2 San Simeon Classic at Gloucester Park last January and the group 3 Harvey Cup from Russley Rascal and Franco Renegade in March.

“He has had a fair amount of work and is pretty forward in himself,” said de Campo, who will drive the five-year-old who is trained at Capel by his father Andrew. “He worked well on our home track this morning (Tuesday) when I sat behind Quick Reflection and got up to beat that horse, without either horse being extended.”


Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. is on the doorstep of a notable milestone. The 64-year-old Serpentine horseman has 15 runners engaged in the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he needs just one winner to record his 1500th city training success.

Most of his runners have sound each-way prospects and when asked for his best prospects he said that Askmenow and This Time Dylan were the two he fancied most. But he also said that Soho Highroller, Rowchester, The Ragpickers Dream and Jar Zinyo had sound claims and most of his other starters were capable of winning if they enjoyed a slice of luck.

Much water has passed under the bridge since Hall, a week after celebrating his 23rd birthday, trained and drove his first city winner when he dashed 5/2 chance Tobaree to an early lead, set a dawdling pace and then charged away to win at a 2.12 rate over 12 furlongs from Elaborate and Royal Spinner.

He has been a trendsetter who has produced many outstanding performers, including superstars The Falcon Strike and Im Themightyquinn.

Hall notched his 1499th Metropolitan winner when his son Gary drove hot favourite My Hard Copy to a splendid all-the-way victory over Jay Bees Grin in the 1730m event for C3-class pacers at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night.

Hall said that the New Zealand-bred four-year-old Askmenow should prove hard to beat in the 1730m Del Basso Smallgoods Parliamentarians Cup for Mares Pace.

Askmenow, to be driven by Gary Hall jun., will start from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. She has won at nine of her past 13 starts and Hall jun. is likely to attempt an all-the-way win over the sprint trip.

Hall sen. has four runners (Askmenow, Chloe Vargarita, Famous Alchemist and Korobeit Angel) engaged in the race and he had little hesitation in declaring that Famous Alchemist was the best of that quartet.

“But she has drawn on the outside (No. 7) on the front line and will find it tough from there,” he said. “She has got a bit more class and a bit more speed than Askmenow, but Askmenow is more forward in condition and she’s tough.

“Dropping back from 2536m to 1730m will also certainly help Askmenow.” Askmenow started from barrier four in a 2536m event last Friday night and she worked hard before getting to the front after 450m and she faded to finish third behind Our Major Mark and Hez The Bart Man. She should appreciate racing against her own sex this week.

Hall also has high hopes for This Time Dylan, who will start from the outside of the front line in the 2130m Action Industrial Catering Claiming Pace. The New Zealand-bred eight-year-old was most impressive last Friday night when he came from the rear to race three wide (without a trail) for almost 800m before surging on the front and scoring an 8m victory over Lord Coburn in a 2503m stand.

It was his fourth win in a stand from his past six starts, but he should be capable of readjusting to a different tempo when he returns to mobile racing this week.

In the latest news from the Hall stable star performers Im Themightyquinn and Alta Christiano are back in work and on the comeback trail.

“Im Themightyquinn has been back in work for four days and his sore feet seem to be all right,” Hall said. “He has no other problems and if everything goes well he should be able to resume racing in five to six weeks. Hopefully he will be back to his best for the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup. I’m still keen to take him to Sydney for the interdominion championship next March. He’s got to defend his title.”

Hall said that Alta Christiano, a winner of seven of his 11 starts and unbeaten at three appearances in WA, was on the mend after damaging the suspensory ligament in his nearside foreleg.

“After receiving stem cell treatment he got an infection, and that was nearly the end of him,” Hall said. “But he has overcome all those problems and started work on Monday. He probably won’t be ready to race again until about March. If I can get him up and going, I could take him to Sydney for the Chariots of Fire.”


Star Victorian-bred four-year-old Nowitzki should continue his perfect record of recording a first-up victory by proving too smart for his 11 rivals at his WA debut in the 2130m BLVD Tavern Joondalup Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Art Major gelding has settled well at Michael Brennan’s Pinjarra training establishment for his Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack and he has the class to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line.

He is unbeaten at his three first-up starts in a brief career of 14 runs for seven wins and four placings. He won by 6.7m at his debut, at Melton in March 2012, and he also was successful at his next two first-up runs, by 8.2m at Cobram in November 2012 and by 14.1 at Kilmore last July.

He has not raced since he started from the back line, dashed to an early lead, set the pace and faded to third behind Chilli Palmer and Hilltop Hustler over 2240m at Melton on August 23. At his previous start he raced wide early and then in the breeze before finishing third behind Bit Of A Legend over the same journey at Melton.

Nowitzki’s only serious rival on Friday night appears to be Rowchester, who will start out wide at barrier six on the front line. Rowchester, trained by Gary Hall sen., has turned the corner with strong wins at his past two starts --- when racing in the breeze and beating Tommy Smith over 2185m at Pinjarra and when leading and beating Ardens Southee over2536m at Gloucester Park.

by Ken Casellas


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