Day At The Track

Gloucester Park review with Ken Casellas

02:31 PM 17 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Miracle Mile plans for Vampiro

New Zealand-bred Vampiro, a pacer blessed with dazzling gate speed, will be set for the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle next March if he maintains his superb form, said buoyant part-owner Rob Gartrell after Colin Brown had driven the six-year-old to a superb all-the-way victory in the $25,000 Direct Trades Supply Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Vampiro, who possesses dazzling gate speed, is a brilliant sprinter, having won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint, rating 1.55.2 when he beat Maczaffair and Rocknroll Lincoln at Gloucester Park in October 2018, as well as winning the 1730m Village Kid Sprint from Herrick Roosevelt and Galactic Star at a 1.52.9 rate last December. 

“Probably, since Has The Answers a decade ago, Vampiro is the fastest beginner in WA,” said Gartrell, who races the New Zealand-bred gelding in partnership with trainer Skye Bond, who prepares the pacer with her husband Greg.

“We tossed up this year whether to take Vampiro to Menangle in a bid to qualify for the Miracle Mile. We ended up taking Galactic Star. But next year we’ll probably have a crack with Vampiro.

“We had a chance to sell Vampiro to America a couple of years ago when Skye said: ‘No, no, this horse will continue to improve. So, we hung on to him and he has got better with every preparation. We bought him as a three-year-old for a pretty reasonable price, mainly because he hadn’t done anything sensational in New Zealand.”

Vampiro has certainly vindicated Skye Bond’s faith in the Rocknroll Hanover gelding, who managed just one win and one placing from seven starts in New Zealand. His 53 starts in Western Australia have produced 23 wins and 17 placings for $521,724 in prizemoney.

He is out the unraced Artsplace mare Fortune Lover, whose dam Under Cover Lover amassed $864,923 in stakes from 21 wins and 22 placings from 70 starts.

Vampiro, who set the pace and finished second to Caviar Star in the 2536m Fremantle Cup and led when second to Mighty Conqueror in the 2936m WA Pacing Cup in January, led and won the 2692m Pinjarra Cup last Monday week. He began from the outside barrier (No. 9) in both the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups and from barrier six in the Pinjarra Cup.

Again, he began brilliantly from barrier nine on Friday night and burst straight to the front before setting a solid pace. He dashed over the final four 400m sections in 29.2sec., 27.7sec., 28.7sec. and 28.1sec. Her rated 1.56 and beat his fast-finishing stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone, with trainer Ross Olivieri’s Im Full of Excuses third and another Bond-trained pacer El Jacko, an unlucky fourth after being badly hampered for room for most of the final circuit.

“The only question mark on Vampiro has always been whether he can find when it gets really tough,” Gartrell said. “Tonight, he showed his toughness when seriously tested by Im Full of Excuses approaching the home turn and was able to repel the challenge.”

Shockwave is on the rise

Star four-year-old Shockwave, untroubled to crush his rivals in the $50,000 Direct Trades Supply Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night, is vying for the accolade as Western Australia’s best pacer, according to his managing owner Kevin Jeavons.

“I have no doubt that he is right up there with the best horses here,” Jeavons declared. “Time will tell how he measures up with the best in Australia. We will find out when he gets a chance.”

At his first appearance for two months, Shockwave was a dominant $1.20 favourite from the No. 1 barrier in the group 2 2130m feature event. Aiden de Campo jumped Shockwave straight to the front and the horse coasted through the first three quarters of the final mile before sprinting the last 400m in 27.3sec. to beat Bletchley Park by just under five metres at a 1.56.5 rate.

This gave de Campo his second success in this event, after scoring an effortless victory with Handsandwheels 12 months ago.

Jeavons, who races Shockwave in partnership with his son Kyle and Howard King, outlaid $46,000 to buy Shockwave at the 2017 APG yearling sale and the son of Canadian sire Mach Three now has earned $330,704 from 11 wins and 11 placings from 33 starts.

“He was the best looking and best conformed colt at the sale in my opinion and in the opinion of trainer Ryan Bell,” Jeavons said. “He was a great looking horse and has developed into a great looking stallion. He is a very quiet, well-mannered horse.

“At the moment, Shockwave will be staying in WA and will race in Free-For-Alls every couple of weeks. We’re planning to go to Queensland for him to contest two major group 1 feature events in July. But with the problems with the world-wide virus, who knows what will happen. We won ‘t be over-racing him and will be keeping him for the big races.”

Young targets a feature double

Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young praised Rosies Ideal for her spirited performance to win the DTS Farm Fence Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and said that the five-year-old was being set for a feature double in the space of five days later this month.

“Rosies Ideal is one of the best mares in the State, in my opinion, and she’s starting to prove that, winning in sub 1.57 mile rates at each of her past three starts at Gloucester Park,” he said.

Young plans to run Rosies Ideal in the group 3 $30,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday week and the group 2 $50,000 Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park the following Friday.

“She’s got to back up to two starts in the week,” Young said. “She’s tough enough and it shouldn’t bother her. In a normal week, she has a hoppled run on a Wednesday and races on the Friday.”

Rosies Ideal was a warm favourite at $2.15 from out wide at barrier No. 8 and Young said that he didn’t go into the race with a set plan.

“I thought I might go forward, but when I heard Aiden (de Campo) say in a pre-race interview that he intended to have a good crack for the lead with American Delight, I thought I would just let Rosies Ideal settle in the field,” Young said.

“But, at barrier rise, Aiden’s horse broke, so I asked Rosies Ideal to go forward. Miss Sangrial (four and five wide) got a neck in front of us early, but she was never going to cross Rosies Ideal once I asked her to run forward.

“She probably overraced a bit and that’s why she got a bit tired at the end. She went 29.1sec. from the 1200m to the 800m which she didn’t need to, but she wanted to. She’s a quality mare and has a great record. If she can jag one of the feature events for mares in the summer, it will be the icing on the cake. At the moment, we’re enjoying the ride.”

Rosies Ideal held on gamely to defeat the fast-finishing 40/1 outside Mileys Desire by a head, rating 1.56.4 over the 2130m. This took her record to 39 starts for 14 wins, nine placings and $228,663 in prizemoney.

Rosies Ideal was bred and is owned by Craig Lynn and his father Alan. Craig Lynn raced Rosies Ideal’s dam the New Zealand-bred Rosie Malone, who won four races from 38 starts in WA after winning three times in New Zealand.

Highlights of Rosies Ideal’s career have been her victories in the two-year-old Gold Bracelet and the three-year-old Westbred Classic, as well as her head second to Our Alfie Romeo in the WASBA Breeders Stakes for four-year-olds in May of last year.

Black Jack Baby sparkles

Black Jack Baby, a Follow The Stars filly bred and owned by Shane Quadrio, will be a major player in feature events for two-year-olds this season, judged by the effortless ease in which she scored a runaway victory in the 1730m Direct Trades Supply Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trained at Pinjarra by David Young, Black Jack Baby was driven with extreme confidence by Chris Voak and she gave a superb frontrunning exhibition to win by eight lengths from Soho Gigolo at a 1.58.6 rate.

This gave Black Jack Baby her fourth win from four starts and she looms as a strong chance in the rich feature events for two-year-olds. She is likely to have her next start in the $25,000 Western Crown for fillies next Friday night.

Voak likes Run For Mercy

Chris Voak, who heads the WA drivers’ premiership table this season, was full of praise for the Ross Olivieri-trained Run For Mercy, who scored an easy victory  in the 2130m Direct Trades Supply Pace for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Run For Mercy, an odds-on favourite from barrier one, is a stablemate of the outstanding filly Double Expresso, and she was not extended in setting the pace and winning from Sports Package and Blockjorg.

“It was trackwork, really,” said Voak. “Basically, I think that everyone conceded. We got the barrier (No. 1) and it was her race to lose. It was a procession.

“She won, but I don’t think that’s the way to rate her, slow like that. This filly can beat Double Expresso. But we need to be conservative, whereas Double Expresso can do the bullocking work in races and run on.

“In the WA Oaks over 2536m, Run For Mercy is better on a genuine tempo. If Double Expresso is posted in the breeze and we get a soft trip and all of a sudden we get home in 57.8sec. we can definitely get over them. But, is Run For Mercy able to lead and beat Double Expresso, I don’t think so.”

Justasec justifies Warwick’s confidence

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred four-year-old Justasec, the $2.70 favourite, justified reinsman Ryan Warwick’s confidence when he worked hard without cover and scored a narrow victory in the 2130m Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“I told Greg (Greg Bond, who prepares the gelding in partnership with his wife Skye) that we would sit outside the leader (Saleahs Comand) and win,” Warwick said after Justasec had forged to the front 100m from the post and held on to win by a head from the fast-finishing Lord Rosco.

“He’s a pretty good horse and can do it every each way. So, he’s a pretty adaptable little horse who has got a good motor. He was just a grade better than them tonight. He’s got a few lurks, but we’ll just let him do the talking.”

Justasec, by American sire Big Jim, won once from two New Zealand starts and now has had 11 starts in WA for eight wins and two seconds.

It’s Dennis all the way

A change of tactics by reinsman Mitch Miller paved the way for a strong all-the-way victory by Dennis in the 2130m DTS Farmlock Fence Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

A week earlier, Dennis started from the No. 1 barrier and Miller was content to sit behind the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo when Dennis was blocked for a run until the final 50 metres and ran on when fourth behind Jack William.

Mitchell was determined to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier on Friday night and Dennis held the fancied Grinny Vinnie at bay when that pacer made a strong challenge for the early lead. Dennis then covered the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.6sec. and 30.2sec. before sprinting the final sections in 28.4sec. and 27.6sec.   

Dennis, trained by Ross Olivieri, went on to win by just under a length from Grinny Vinnie, rating 1.56.7 to notch his ninth win from 57 starts.

“Dennis has always had good gate speed, but in the past whenever you used him at the start, you would lose at the finish,” said Miller. “We drove him quiet from barrier one last week and paid the price. So, drawing one, you’ve got to make the most of it.”

Sir Galahad sizzles

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred six-year-old Sir Galahad continues to impress and he revealed abundant speed and plenty of toughness when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front 100m from the post and winning the 1730m DTS All Your Civil and Construction Supply Needs Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trained by Gary Hall snr and driven by Stuart McDonald, Sir Galahad, the $2.40 favourite from barrier five raced outside the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo before exerting his superiority in the home straight. H smart 1.55.3 and improved his record to eight wins and three placings from 13 starts.

Treble for the Bonds

Leading trainers Greg and Sky Bond extended their lead on the WA trainers’ premiership table when Ryan Warwick drove Where Ya Bin to a narrow victory in the DTS Handicap over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The Bonds now have prepared 103 winners this season and lead the table from Ross Olivieri (64 wins) and Gary Hall snr (53).

Where Ya Bin, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old and a $5.70 chance, raced without cover early and ran on solidly from sixth in the one-wide line at the line to win by a half-head from Burning Shadows and On My Oath, who dead-heated for second.

Leading suits You Gotta Have Faith

Noted frontrunner You Gotta Have Faith excelled in the role of pacemaker and overcame the disadvantage of casting a shoe in running when he held on to win the 2130m Get The Best Service Only At DTS Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Driven by Maddison Brown for Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop, You Gotta Have Faith, the $3 favourite, made the most of the coveted No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and holding on to win by a neck from Mister Bushido, who trailed the pacemaker throughout.

The Justin Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket showed that she will pay to follow by fighting on grimly to be a close third after working hard in the breeze, while Crocodile Kid showed a welcome return to form by charging home out wide to finish fourth.

No trouble for Dreamy Nights

Smart six-year-old Dreamy Nights completed a winning hat-trick when Aldo Cortopassi drove the Ray Williams-trained six-year-old to an effortless victory in the 2130m DTS Security Fence Specialists Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“The danger (Jack William) was parked on the helmet (behind us) and I made sure he was hemmed in until it was over,” said Cortopassi. “There was no pressure on us, and I treated it just like trackwork.”

Jack William maintained his excellent form in finishing second, with Iceenothink flashing home from tenth at the bell to be an eye-catching third.


Ken Casellas

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