Woodley chooses Banana Dana over Mysta Magical Mach
12 September 2012
by Ken Casellas
Sneakyn Down Under - one of two Darren Duffy runners in the Media Guild Cup.
Morgan Woodley, winner of the 2011-12 Statewide reinsmen’s premiership, has given punters a strong lead by opting to drive the comparatively inexperienced Banana Dana in preference to millionaire pacer Mysta Magical Mach in the $21,000 Media Guild Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
And Banana Dana’s part-owner and trainer Darren Duffy, who has completed a term of suspension, has decided not to resume as the driver of star pacer Sneakyn Down Under. He has engaged Chris Brew to continue as the gelding’s driver.
Banana Dana, a seven-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding, is an M2-class pacer and the lowest-assessed runner in the field. He will start from the No. 1 barrier and Sneakyn Down Under, an M15-class performer, will start from the outside barrier in a field of seven.
Woodley has forged a great partnership with Mysta Magical Mach and has driven him to 17 victories, including the 2008 Christmas Gift, the 2009 WA Pacing Cup, the 2009 Lord Mayor’s Cup and 2009 Bunbury Cup. He also drove Mysta Magical Mach when he finished a splendid second to champion Im Themightyquinn in the interdominion championship final at Gloucester Park last March.
Woodley has driven Banana Dana at his past three starts (while Duffy was under suspension) for three superb victories.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong recently and his past two runs have been exceptional,” Woodley said. “He has handled the rise in class at his past couple of starts very well. At his latest start he won by almost 20m and not many horses do that at Gloucester Park. Starting from barrier one certainly brings him in with a good chance on Friday night.”
Banana Dana performed in magnificent fashion at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he started from the outside of the back line and was last in the middle stages before charging home from ninth at the bell to score in runaway style from Dashing Christian over 2506m to chalk up four wins in a row.
On the same night Sneakyn Down Under won for the fifth time from his past eight starts when he thundered home from the rear in the middle stages to beat Grinjaro over 2100m.
Duffy works his horses individually and both Banana Dana and Sneakyn Down Under pleased him with sparkling displays on the Wanneroo track on Tuesday morning.
“Banana Dana sprinted over the final 400m in a tick over 27sec. and he ran strongly through the line and kept on going,” Duffy said. “Sneakyn Down Under also worked very well and he ran his final quarter in 28.5sec.
“The two horses have worked together only once and that was about 18 months ago when Sneakyn Down Under led and Banana Dana sat on him and got over the top of him to beat him convincingly. Both should prove hard to beat this week.”
Brew has driven Sneakyn Down Under at his past three starts for two smart wins and a tremendous third behind Dasher VC and Cromac Johnny in the Easter Cup when he covered a lot of extra ground. “He is a very classy pacer and is right at the top of his game,” Brew said.
“I’ll go into the race with an open mind from the outside barrier. He is versatile. He has fantastic gate speed and has shown that he can come from behind. Morgan’s decision to drive Banana Dana is a big pointer to that horse’s chances. I reckon that Banana Dana will be the hardest for Sneakyn Down Under to beat.”
Woodley won the Media Guild Cup for the first time last year when successful with the Svilicich-trained Has The Answers, who started from the outside of the front line, set the pace and beat Lombo Navigator.
Hazelmere trainer Gary Hall sen. and his son Gary Hall jun. will be attempting to win the Media Guild Cup for the fourth time when Hall jun. drives Vito Vito, who bounced back to his best form with a fast-finishing victory in a 2096m stand in much weaker company last Friday night. The Halls have won the Cup with The Falcon Strike (2003), Kotare Flame (2007) and Washakie (2008).