Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories: Pacers 2008/2009 Season
Power Of Tara NZ maintained its unbeaten record since moving to Perth, beating Divisive and Im ThemightyQuinn NZ in track record time over 2,902m in Friday night’s $250,000 Fremantle Pacing Cup sponsored by the Stallion Station.
Colourful local trainer Greg Harper master-minded the victory with the six-year-old gelding. A former highly successful reinsman himself, the trainer preferred having 22-year-old Ryan Bell in the sulky. The young man carried out the trainer’s instructions to the letter.
When the field was sent on its way, polemarker Capitol NZ was taken straight to the lead by Mark Reed. Tee Pee Village NZ wasted barrier two by galloping its way back through the field. The favourite Divisive, off the lone backmark, was slow though safely away.
No Blue Manna, beginning fast off 10 metres, was soon around the field with Chris Lewis dashing it to the front to lead from Scruffy Murphy (Justin Warwick) sent forward early, with Capitol NZ on the back of the leader and Spirit Of Shard 12 (Gary Hall Jnr.) in the one-one.
It was obvious Peter Rixon was again driving Divisive for luck in a big race, rather than prepared to move around the field early into a forward position. The favourite was back last even after passing the way-way point when the speed up front went up a notch.
The final mile was paced at an interesting speed. The first quarter of that last mile was reached in 30.3 seconds, with the following sectionals then reeled off in consistently-paced quarters of 29.9, 29.2 and the dash for the post in another 29.2.
The overall mile rate returned by Power Of Tara NZ was 2:00.4. This means that Divisive’s effort in finishing second off 20m behind was full of merit, even allowing for the fact the NSW pacer was safely held over the final stages by the winner.
Power Of Tara NZ was by far the best-backed of the 11 local pacers, with many punters surprised at the good odds offered on Super TAB in the Gloucester Park betting ring.
In the eastern States punters were being loyal to Divisive, the No 1 pacer in NSW. Many easterners it seems failed to realise how tough a 20 metre backmark can be around the tight circuit of Gloucester Park, and were prepared to overlook earlier reports that Power Of Tara NZ was the one to beat.
Greg Harper, who has trained and driven some outstanding pacers over the years, had won earlier Fremantle Cups with horses he obtained from New Zealand, including Justaboyden NZ (1993) and Christian Spirit NZ (2008).
Power Of Tara NZ was no slouch back in Kiwiland, as the gelding arrived here with a record of 10 wins from 48 starts – four of these victories over 2,700m!
The six-year-old soon showed Harper he was a reliable pacer from a stand. Leading up to the Fremantle Cup, the gelding contested just four races in WA – each from a standing start. He won twice from 30m over 2,500m at Bunbury, then at Gloucester Park from 30m followed by a win from 40m, both over 2,503m.
In the few days leading up to the Fremantle Cup, much controversy raged in Perth over the Handicapper allotting 10 metres to Im Themightyquinn NZ, recently purchased across the Tasman specifically to contest Perth’s four-year-old classics - the Goldest Nugget and the McInerney Ford.
Im Themightyquinn NZ, still only assessed as an M4 horse, was placed off 10m along with No Blue Manna (M23) and Scruffy Murphy (M18). It was one of three horses in the field trained by Gary Hall.
On Friday night when driven by Shane Cramp, Im Themightyquinn NZ turned in a rattling good effort to finish an impressive third, starting at the big odds of $18.30. On his third, he seems a likely horse to follow.
After the race, the astute Greg Harper when questioned about the good backing of Power of Tara NZ for the TABcorp Hunter Cup, agreed that race was very much in the mix for this pacer.
Meanwhile, Perth will as usual also host the next two legs of the 2008/2009 Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit. These will be this Friday night (16 January) the $400,000 Find 30 WA Pacing Cup, and the follow week (23 January) the $125,000 Find 30 Australian Pacing Championship.
Results: 2009 STALLION STATION FREMANTLE PACING CUP:
Power Of Tara NZ 10m (Ryan Bell), 1; Divisive 20m (Peter Rixon), 2; Im Themightyquinn NZ 10m (SJ Cramp.), 3.
Others: Spirit Of Shard NZ fr, Capitol V NZ fr, No Blue Manna 10m, The Midnight Rocket NZ fr, Washakie NZ 10m, Glencadam NZ fr, Franco Amon NZ fr, Scruffy Murphy 10m, Tee Pee Village NZ fr. Mile rate: 2:00.0.