Suvaljko not concerned by wide draw with Jefferson City
07 September 2012
by Ken Casellas
Jefferson City fared badly in the random barrier draw and will start from the outside (No. 7) on the front line of the Walkman Qualifying Heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
But the wide barrier has not dampened the enthusiasm of reinsman Shannon Suvaljko, who said that he was most impressed with the way the gelding had performed last Friday night when he had an extremely tough run before winning a 1700m Pathway Pace in fast time on a rain-soaked track.
Many harness racing buffs were reserved in their judgment of Jefferson City’s effort, saying that the field was very weak and therefore it was difficult to assess the gelding’s potential.
Suvaljko answered those critics by saying Jefferson City revealed a touch of class and should develop into a good winner.
Jefferson City worked hard outside the pacemaker Im Elmer Fudd all the way before proving too strong in the closing stages to beat that pacer by a half-length at a 1.58.2 rate. It was a splendid effort by a pacer having his first start for Byford trainer Ron Huston and making his first appearance after a six-month absence.
“They ran the first quarter in 27.7sec. on a wet track,” Suvaljko said. “And Jefferson City rated 1.58.2 in that mud, which was probably equivalent to 1.56 on a dry track. And he’s never been a breeze horse, I don’t think.
“In running I was always confident; he was travelling like a winner all the way and down the back the last time when Kim (Young) went for Im Elmer Fudd, I still had plenty left and I sat against my horse until the straight. I pulled the plugs on the home corner and he responded well. He still had a bit left on the line.”
The first four placegetters in Friday night’s event and in further heats on the following two Friday nights will qualify to contest the $25,000 final of this M0-class event on September 28.
Jefferson City will meet stiff opposition this Friday night in the shape of polemarker Johnny Be, Go West U Terror (drawn on the inside of the back line), Talon Spike, Mirthful Mac and Scuba Steve.
Johnny Be, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, has been a model of consistency and makes good appeal from the prized No. 1 barrier. Talon Spike (barrier three) thundered home from the rear to finish an eye-catching second to Full Moon Tonight last Friday night.
Go West U Terror, a winner of 12 of his 35 starts, cannot be underestimated. The five-year-old, trained by Gary Hall sen., had a tough run when a fighting last-start second to Banana Dana.