Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has won the Sony Central New Seasons Pace twice --- with pacers trained by Tony Svilicich --- and at Gloucester Park on Friday night he looks set to achieve his third success in this event by driving the brilliant Dasher VC to victory over Svilicich’s top-flight performer Mysta Magical Mach.
Mysta Magical Mach, an equine millionaire, will start from the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2506m event and Morgan Woodley looks certain to set the pace. However, he is sure to find it extremely difficult to hold out Dasher VC, who will start from the outside barrier in the field of seven.
Dasher VC is in dazzling form and he was most impressive last Friday week when he raced in eighth position and stormed home from fifth at the bell to win the 2506m August Cup from Cromac Johnny and Sneakyn Down Under, with Mysta Magical Mach wilting over the final 100m to finish a close fifth.
Svilicich and Lewis combined to win the New Seasons Pace with Taihape Tickler in 2006 and Has The Answers in 2010. Svilicich notched his third victory in this event when Kyle Harper was successful with Has The Answers 12 months ago.
Has The Answers, who raced five wide for the first 350m and then led, held on to defeat Lombo Navigator by a nose. This foiled Capel trainer Andrew de Campo’s bid to win the New Seasons Pace for the second time. He was successful with Glencadam (Ryan Bell) in 2008.
De Campo trains Dasher VC, the lightly-raced but highly talented New Zealand-bred six-year-old who is emerging as one of the major fancies in all rich feature events at Gloucester Park in the coming summer.
Dasher VC, who has earned $372,212 from 17 wins and five placings from only 35 starts, looks set to be restrained at the start and there appears no horse capable of wresting the early lead off Mysta Magical Mach. Lewis will determine his tactics according to the tempo of the race. Dasher VC should simply have too much class for his rivals.
Hazelmere trainer Gary Hall sen. has combined with his son Gary Hall jun. to win the New Seasons Pace with Southern Ruler (2005) and Talk To Me Courage (2009) and he will be represented this year by eight-year-old Saucy Legend, who is nicely drawn at barrier two.
Saucy Legend showed improvement last Friday night when he started off the 20m mark and was tenth in the middle stages before surging home, three wide, from seventh at the bell to finish third behind Johnorama and Adda Paternal Suit over 2503m.
“If he had drawn No. 1 he would have gone close,” Hall sen. declared. “Now he looks like racing on the fence behind Mysta Magical Mach and should figure in the finish.”