Skippy Rascal Set to Lead All The Way

28 December 2017 | Ken Casellas
Skippy Rascal

Skippy Rascal Photo by Scott Hamilton Media

Noted frontrunner Skippy Rascal fared the best in the random draw and Byford trainer Callan Suvaljko is set to take full advantage of the No. 1 barrier by attempting an all-the-way victory in the 2130m Book A Private Box At Gloucester Park Pace on Friday night.

Punters should take little notice of Skippy Rascal’s ninth placing behind Herrick Roosevelt in the Group 2 Christmas Gift last Friday night when the experienced eight-year-old was restrained from barrier seven and raced in eleventh position on the pegs.

A week earlier he led from the No. 2 barrier and was beaten into second place by the fast-finishing Zach Maguire. That followed his impressive win at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m the previous week when he started from barrier one and trailed the pacemaker Simba Bromac before finishing fast to beat that pacer.

Skippy Rascal has a winning record of just 12 per cent (17 wins from 137 starts), but is in the best form of his career with four wins and five placings from 17 starts this season.

The John Ellis-trained Three Pints possesses good gate speed, but it is difficult to suggest he will be able to muster sufficient speed from barrier two to burst past Skippy Rascal and take up the running in the early stages.

Dodolicious, who will start from the outside of the front line, is the quality runner in the field, with earnings of $477,139 from 18 wins and 12 placings from 36 starts. She should appreciate a considerable drop in class and looks set to fight out the finish.

The No. 1 barrier should also prove a decisive factor in the opening event, the 2130m Book Into The Beau Rivage Restaurant Pace, with last season’s WA Derby winner Handsandwheels sure to be hard to beat from the prized pole position.

The four-year-old, to be driven by Aiden de Campo for his father, Capel trainer Andrew de Campo, notched his ninth win from 30 starts when he set the pace from barrier four and defeated Major Stare by two lengths at a 1.56.5 rate over 2100m at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park. He gave his rivals little chance by sprinting over the final 800m in 56.6sec.   

His chief rival is expected to be the Skye Bond-trained El Jacko, who will start immediately behind him from barrier one on the back line. El Jacko has won at 12 of his 25 starts and his last-start second to Mista Shark was full of merit. He surged home with a three-wide burst from eighth at the bell.