Ken Casellas Reviews Gloucester Park's Friday Night Meeting

02 March 2021
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Floewriter bred for stardom

It was Aiden de Campo’s happy association with pacing filly Maddy White eight years ago that encouraged him to outlay $30,000 to purchase a Sportswriter colt at the 2020 Perth APG yearling sale on behalf of a bevy of stable clients.

De Campo drove Maddy White to wins at her first two starts, as a two-year-old --- at Bunbury and Harvey early in 2013 --- and was in the sulky for five of her next nine victories.

The Sportswriter colt at the sale was out of Maddy White, with the colt described by de Campo as being a dead ringer for her dam, a big, lanky horse with an action identical to that of his mother.

The colt, named Floewriter, was bred to be a quality performer, with a most impressive list of star pacers in his pedigree.

Floewriter, the $3.30 favourite in the $100,000 APG Sales Classic final for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night, gave a splendid frontrunning performance to win from Tomlous Jambo ($9) and the fast-finishing $61 outsider Speedwagon, rating 1.56.5 over the 1730m.

This boosted his earnings to $61,925 from a win, a second and a fifth from three starts.

De Campo said that he was pretty confident of access after Floewriter drew the prized No. 1 barrier. “I then was lucky enough to get away with a good first half which helped us a lot and made it hard for the others in the closing stages.

“He will go for a break now for a couple of weeks, and then we’ll be looking at the feature events for two-year-olds later in the season,” said de Campo.

“I don’t consider Floewriter is an absolute stand-out compared with the rest of the crop. There are a fair few horses in tonight’s race who go quite nicely. The good thing about Floewriter is that he has really good manners.”

De Campo said that Floewriter’s immediate target would be the $50,000 APG WA Gold Bullion final for colts and geldings on April 16 before he would be set for the $100,000 Pearl on June 11 and the $125,000 Golden Slipper on July 9.

Maddy White, who raced 51 times for 11 wins, 20 placings and $110,824 in stakes, is out of Benjor Maddy Lombo, who produced six winners, including the de Campo stable’s star Handsandwheels, winner of the 2017 WA Derby and earner of $666,739 from 28 wins and 26 placings from 83 starts. Rock Me Over, a half-brother to Handsandwheels, has had 120 starts for 20 wins, 38 placings and $289,273.

Floewriter is also closely related to Suave Stuey Lombo, who amassed $587,032 from 33 wins and 23 placings from 110 starts. His victories included two at group 1 level, one at group 2 level and five in group 3 features. Floewriter can trace his ancestors back to former WA star mares Smooth Gale and Misty Maiden.

Hamiltons make a wise choice

There was little doubt that when Byford hobby trainer Linda Hamilton and her husband Barry went to the 2020 WA APG yearling sale that they would not buy the Teen Queen Lombo filly, whose first foal Allamerican Queen had led all the way for trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice and won the group 1 Westbred Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park in June 2017.

They are more than pleased that they spent $17,500 to purchase the filly who they named Valhalla Miss, the fifth and last foal out of Teen Queen Lombo.

Valhalla Miss followed in the footsteps of her half-sister Allamerican Queen when she set the pace and won the $100,000 group 1 APG Sales Classic for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

In between Allamerican Queen and Valhalla Miss (who was bred by the Allwood Stud Farm), Mrs Hamilton dabbled in breeding and bred Camluck King out of Teen Queen Lombo. Camluck King has been an honest performer, without reaching any great heights in his 55-start career of seven wins, 18 placings and stakes of $55,416.

Mrs Hamilton, delighted at her biggest success in harness racing, acknowledged the assistance she had been receiving from former champion trainer-reinsman Trevor Warwick and his wife Katja.

Camluck King was handled in six of his seven wins by Kyle Harper, who has driven Valhalla Miss at her first three starts for two wins and a second for earnings of $67,310.

Teen Queen Lombo has made a significant mark in her brief career at stud after she had raced only twice, for a smart four-length victory at a 1.57.1 rate over 1670m at Pinjarra in October 2011 before finishing a distant last in a race at Gloucester Park a week later.  

Valhalla Miss, second favourite at $3.90 in Friday night’s classic, was smartest to begin from the No. 1 barrier and was able to withstand an early challenge from $4.80 chance Extraordinary Mary before Harper dictated terms in front and was able to give Valhalla Miss a breather with a second quarter of the final mile in 30.9sec. before final 400m sections of 28.7sec. and 29.4sec.

Extraordinary Mary raced in the breeze throughout and fought on doggedly to finish a half-length behind Valhalla Miss, who rated 1.58.3 over the 1730m to give the Allwood Stud Farm a quinella result. Half Kidding ($19) ran on from fifth on the pegs at the bell to be third.

Fancied runners Jay Elle ($3.60 favourite) and Treacherous Tiger ($9.50) ruined their chances by breaking in the final circuit.

Harper praised Valhalla Miss, saying: “She buzzes out and comes straight back to you. I consider Extraordinary Mary was gallant in defeat. Once I had her parked outside of me it pretty much left me in control, and we got to rate as we liked. It was a simple case of getting away with what we could and making sure we had something left at the end.

“I think we had Extraordinary Mary beaten a fair way out, and I was more worried about Bramante Steps on our back. I had to keep her in a pocket.”

Harper said that he was quietly confident from the ideal barrier. “Valhalla Miss gave me a good feel in the warm-up, but you can never be sure with two-year-olds; you never know what they’re going to do. She was on her best behaviour, even though she did get a bit lost out in front. But when I asked her to go, she picked up the bit and did the job.”

Just For Love is Oaks bound

Busselton trainer Barry Howlett and his children Katie and Jimmy are full of hope that their promising filly Just For Love will develop into a leading candidate for the $150,000 WA Oaks on April 9 --- and perform better than her dam Harper Grace, who finished seventh behind Libertybelle Midfrew in the 2014 WA Oaks.

Just For Love, a Mach Three filly purchased by the Howletts for $17,000 at the 2019 APG Perth yearling sale, impressed when she set the pace for Jocelyn Young and strolled to a four-length victory over Absolute Delight in the group 2 APG Sales Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This was Just For Love’s fourth win from 16 starts and boosted her earnings to $86,792 to overshadow the deeds of the Victorian-bred Harper Grace, who had 27 starts (all in WA) for six wins, five placings and $47,185 in stakes.

Just For Love, the $2.25 favourite, began swiftly from the No. 3 barrier, dashed to the front after 100m and coasted through the lead time in a dawdling 38.9sec. and the opening quarter in 31.1sec. She was not extended in beating the Linda Hamilton-trained Absolute Delight ($10), with $26 chance Songkran battling home along the inside to be a length away in third place. Just For Love rated 1.57.9 over the 2130m, with final quarters of 28.1sec. and 28.6sec.

Just For Love, who is related to former open-class performer Bus To Harland, gave trainer Barry Howlett the first leg of a double on Friday night, with New Zealand-bred five-year-old Smart Fortune leading for Mark Johnson and winning over 2265m at Albany later in the night.

Delightfulreaction’s consistency rewarded

Experienced five-year-old mare Delightfulreaction ended a losing streak of 18 when she was rewarded for her consistency with a meritorious victory in the APG Perth Online Guide Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Her victory in the 2503m stand completed a double for Capel trainer-reinsman Aiden de Campo, who had won behind Floewriter earlier in the program.

Delightfulreaction, bred by Mike Howie and raced by Melissa Howie, was a $6.40 chance from the inside of the 10m line and de Campo decided to race the mare on the pegs before asking her for an effort in the final lap.

With Major Artist, the well-supported $2.90 favourite setting a solid pace, de Campo was content to race in fifth position, three back on the pegs before he moved her into the clear in the back straight in the final circuit. She sustained a spirited burst to get to the front in the final 20m and defeat Major Artist by a half-length at a 1.59.6 rate.

“She is never far away, and she had the luck tonight,” said de Campo. “I had the option to come up to the one-one, but I wasn’t quite happy with the horse in the breeze (Call Me Ernie), so I stayed on the rails and was able to come off down the back.”

Delightfulreaction, whose previous win was in a stand five months earlier, has now earned $196,226 from 13 wins and 28 placings from 85 starts, with the highlight of her career being her neck second at 100/1 to Has No Fear in the WA Oaks in May 2019.

Mighty Ronaldo keeps Lavra Joe at bay

The much-anticipated duel between star colts Mighty Ronaldo and Lavra Joe eventuated in dramatic style before a big crowd at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with Mighty Ronaldo setting the pace and fighting on grimly to beat Lavra Joe by a head in the $50,000 group 2 APG Sales Classic for three-year-old colts and geldings.

From the coveted No. 1 barrier Mighty Ronaldo, trained by Justin Prentice and driven by Gary Hall jnr, was favourite at $1.50, with Lavra Joe, owned and trained by Ray Jones and driven by Chris Lewis, at the attractive quote of $3.40 from out wide at barrier seven.

Mighty Ronaldo burst straight to the front, with Lewis urging Lavra Joe forward, three wide, to move into the breeze after 200m. Hall rated Mighty Ronaldo to perfection, with a moderate lead time of 37.8sec. and opening quarter of 29.7sec. before increasing the tempo.

Lewis also rated Lavra Joe cleverly in the breeze, keeping the powerful colt a length behind the pacemaker until calling on him for a supreme effort over the final 250m.

Lavra Joe responded grandly and finished with great determination. But Mighty Ronaldo also revealed wonderful fighting qualities to repel the challenge and win by a head at a 1.54 rate over the 2130m. The final three quarters were run in 28.3sec., 27.7sec. and 27.4sec.

Give Us A Wave, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, was a $16 chance from barrier two, and he enjoyed the one-out, one-back trail before finishing solidly to be a half-length behind the two stars.

The expected clash between Mighty Ronaldo, Lavra Joe and Give Us A Wave against Mike Reed’s brilliant New Zealand three-year-old Ragazzo Mach in the $200,000 WA Derby on April 30 should produce a spectacular contest.

Alta Rhett causes an upset

WA-bred five-year-old Alta Rhett has been racing in fine form for Bunbury trainer Sarah Wall, but the gelding was neglected by most punters when he started from barrier No. 4 in the 2130m Maureen Clement Memorial Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He was a $25.30 chance, with most punters predicting that the race would develop into a spirited contest between the three runners drawn to Alta Rhett’s inside --- Bettor Be Oscar ($3.30 favourite), Mr Kiwi ($3.40) and Blockjorg ($4.40).

Somewhat unexpectedly, Blockjorg held up from barrier one and set the pace, leaving Bettor Be Oscar in the breeze and Mr Kiwi trailing the leader, with Valbonne enjoying the one-out, one-back position and Alta Rhett racing in sixth position in the one-wide line.

Bettor Be Oscar eventually got to the front on the home turn but was swamped by the fast-finishing Alta Rhett. Mr Kiwi was third, with Blockjorg fading to last in the field of 12.

Alta Rhett now has earned $92,174 from ten wins and 11 placings from 51 starts.

Mirragon is too classy

Former Victorian pacer Mirragon looks set for a profitable career in Western Australia after showing his class with an effortless victory in the 2130m APG Graduates Clean Sweep Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Trained by Debra Lewis, the four-year-old son of Art Major was a hot $1.20 favourite from the No. 1 barrier. He led for the first 120m before $21 chance Extradite exploded to the front after beginning speedily from barrier eight.

Lewis then regained the lead 200m later and Corey Peterson was satisfied to enjoy an ideal passage behind the favourite with Extradite.

Mirragon sped over the final 400m in 27.3sec. and won by just over two lengths from $12 chance Roman Art, who impressed in finishing powerfully from the rear. The winner rated 1.56.1.

Mirragon, who finished fourth behind Minstrel in the group 1 Golden Nugget two starts earlier, has raced 37 times for nine wins, ten placings and $151,585. He is the first foal out of the Mach Three mare The Waratah, a modest performer with six from 50 starts on Victorian and New South Wales tracks.

Patrickthepiranha excels in front

Patrickthepiranha, placed at four of his five previous starts, broke through for an overdue win and ended a losing sequence of ten when he scored an easy victory over Rock Me Over and Quick Stride in the 2130m APG’s Richest Race Series Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Favourite at $2.80, Patrickthepiranha mustered plenty of early speed from the No. 6 barrier, raced three wide and burst to the front after 550m before setting a brisk pace and sprinting over the final 800m in 56sec. to record a smart rate of 1.55.6.

It was simply a matter of reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green continuing his excellent association with the five-year-old Patrickthepiranha, who has been driven to victory by Egerton-Green in eleven of his 13 wins from 39 starts that have also produced eight seconds and four thirds.

Ace Banjup trainer Colin Brown said that Patrickthepiranha was best suited in his current class when leading or racing in the breeze.

“I drove him two starts ago (from barrier eight) and thought I would be nice to him and sat behind the leader,” he said. “But he didn’t get a clear run and finished an unlucky fifth, just a length from the winner That’s Perfect.

“In this class I think he is as good as the best of them and he can afford to come out and breeze or lead and do his thing. Once he steps up in grade, he might have to be driven differently. He’s got more than one string to his bow.”

Friday night’s win was some consolation for Jim Currie and Liam O’Connor, who own the Four Starzzz Shark gelding. They also race the brilliant filly American Arma, who has been ruled out of contesting the $150,000 WA Oaks on April 9 after fracturing a bone in her nearside hind leg during the running of the Daintys Daughter Classic the previous Friday night.

Major Times set for Bunbury Cup

Former Victorian pacer Major Times will be set for the $50,000 Bunbury Cup at Donaldson Park next Friday night after winning the 2536m APG Perth Yearling Sale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Eight-time WA premiership trainer Ross Olivieri was full of praise for the Art Major six-year-old after the stallion had dashed over the final 800m in 57.7sec. and rated 1.57.1 over the 2536m journey.

“Now he will run in the Bunbury Cup,” said Olivieri, who has trained the winner of three Bunbury Cups ---Speedy Cheval (1991), Hail The Judge (1998) and Crombie (2011).

Major Times, making his second appearance in Western Australia, was a strongly-supported $1.90 favourite, with polemarker Howard Hughes ($2.70) the only other runner quoted at less than $15.

Ryan Warwick sent Howard Hughes straight to the front, with Major Times settling down in fifth position. Chris Voak dashed Major Times forward to move into the breeze 600m after the start. Supporters of Howard Hughes groaned when the talented four-year-old broke into a gallop 600m from home and dropped back to last in the field of seven.

This left Major Times in front and he sprinted over the final two 400m sections in 27.7sec. and 28sec. and won by just over two lengths from $17 chance Has No Fear, who had trailed the pacemaker all the way.

Major Times is out of the Live Or Die mare The Good Times, who won the group 2 Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old fillies at Melton in May 2011 and earned $201,024 from 17 wins and 15 placings from 60 starts.

The Good Times is a half-sister to former star performer Safe And Sound, who won the 2002 Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley from Shakamaker and Seelster Sam. He was retired with earnings of $995,606 from 33 wins and 30 placings from 84 starts.

Major Times showed good early promise and finished a close third behind Poster Boy and Tam Major in the group 1 2018 New South Wales Derby at Menangle as well as finishing second to Tam Major in the group 2 Vicbred Super Sires Series for four-year-olds at Melton in July 2019.

Texas Tiger shows star quality

Part-owner Steve Chapman predicted that the lightly-raced Texas Tiger would develop into a “special horse” after the New Zealand-bred four-year-old crushed his rivals in the 2130m Australian Pacing Gold Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

From the outside of the back line Texas Tiger was a hot $1.20 favourite at his first appearance at Gloucester Park and he was driven with great confidence by Gary Hall jnr who dashed the gelding forward, three wide, early to move to the breeze position outside the pacemaker Anvil Rollover after 500m.

Texas Tiger took a narrow lead 250m from home and was untouched as he went on to win by almost two lengths from Anvil Rollover, rating 1.56.3.

This took Texas Tiger’s record for trainer Gary Hall snr to four wins from four starts in the space of 19 days.

Chapman, who races Texas Tiger in partnership wife his wife Tina and their children Danielle and Ben, said that it took considerable negotiating before he was able to purchase Texas Tiger for a reasonable price, explaining that the pacer’s owners were seeking a very high six-figure sum for the horse.

“I saw the potential of Texas Tiger and I negotiated to buy him for 12 weeks before, finally, I was able to get him for $75,000 which for me at the time was an ‘ouch’ because I didn’t want to pay that much. He is by American Ideal, and I love American Ideal horses.

The Chapman family certainly have enjoyed great success with New Zealand-bred pacers by American Ideal. These horses include My Hard Copy, Balcatherine, My Carbon Copy and Copy N Pace.

My Hard Copy was retired to stud after earning $1,271,592 (with his wins including the 2015 and 2016 WA Pacing Cups and the 2018 Fremantle Cup in which he beat Lazarus and Chicago Bull) and Balcatherine demonstrated her wonderful ability in winning the $125,000 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park last November.

 

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