Ace reinsman Morgan Woodley will be reunited with speedy pacer Scruncher when he drives the eight-year-old in the 2100m Golden Nugget Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Forrestdale trainer Jarrad Humphries engaged Woodley when Colin Brown was committed to driving his own nomination Where And When.
Brown drove Scruncher when the gelding caught the eye at his second appearance after an absence of just over ten months, finishing strongly from ninth at the bell to be fourth behind Lombo Perpetrator over 2506m last Friday night.
“You haven’t seen the last of him yet,” said an enthusiastic Humphries, who has been giving Scruncher a solid preparation working him in heavy sand.
Woodley last sat behind Scruncher when the gelding finished fifth behind Fabiano in the BOTRA Country Cup at North in May 2009. The only previous time Woodley drove Scruncher was two starts before that when he won over 2100m by five lengths at Bunbury’s Donaldson Park.
Scruncher, who has earned $131,167 from 19 wins and 18 placings from 66 starts, appeals as the likely pacemaker and he could take plenty of catching. His chief rivals look to be Talon Spiker and Still Chokin, who will start from the two outside barriers on the back line.
The ten-year-old Talon Spike, trained and driven by Aldo Cortopassi, is racing with tremendous spirit and is sure to prove hard to beat. He started from the outside of the front line and was 12th and last in the middle stages before sustaining a spirited burst to finish a neck second to Theyallneedlovin over 2100m last Friday night when the final 400m was covered in a slick 28.1sec.
Talon Spike was blocked for a clear passage until very late when an unlucky fast-finishing third behind Johnny Be and Mirthful Mac the previous Friday night.
Still Chokin, trained by Andrew de Campo, is in splendid form, with his past six starts producing two wins, three seconds and a third. He worked hard without cover when a fighting third to Jambo Emali over 2506m last Friday week after finishing strongly to be second to his smart stablemate Calloway Bromac over 1609m at Bunbury at his previous outing. Before that, he won from Whatashambles over 2100m at Bunbury after racing wide early and then in the breeze.
IM GRANT LEA GETS HIS CHANCE TO TURN THE TABLES ON DALVEY GOLD
Veteran pacer Im Grant Lea gets his chance to turn the tables on Dalvey Gold when the in-form pacers clash in the 2503m McInerney Ford Classic Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
They started off 10m last Friday night when Im Grant Lea began brilliantly and set the pace before being overhauled by Dalvey Gold in the final few strides. This week Im Grant Lea has a marked advantage over his rival. He will start off the 20m mark and Dalvey Gold will be the lone backmarker off 30m.
Both are reliable standing-start performers and Shannon Suvaljko (Im Grant Lea) and Aldo Cortopassi (Dalvey Gold) are expected to make forward moves early to get into striking positions behind the leaders.
Before last week’s second Im Grant Lea broke when in a winning position approaching the home turn and finished eighth behind Vito Vito. That followed several strong efforts, including an excellent fourth behind Code Red in the 3309m Marathon Handicap, a second to My Elusive Dream and a third behind Falcons Medley.
Dalvey Gold has struck a purple patch and looks set to fight out the finish, despite his 30m handicap. He covered extra ground in the early stages and then had a good sit, one-out and one-back, before finishing too strongly for Im Grant Lea last Friday night. He also won standing-start events at two of his four previous appearances.