Outstanding young driver Emily Suvaljko will be in action in eight of the ten events at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and she considers that her best winning prospect is Royal Essence, a three-year-old filly who has won only twice from 17 starts and will be resuming after a 16-week absence.
Royal Essence, trained by Nathan Turvey, has drawn ideally at the No. 1 barrier in the TABtouch Lounge On SEN Track 657 Pace in which she will clash with the brilliant Black Jack Baby, who has amassed $200,770 from 13 wins, five seconds and one third from 26 starts.
“Royal Essence is quite quick off the gate, and she will be leading and will love the mile,” said a confident Suvaljko. “I think she will be my best drive of the night.”
The New Zealand-bred Royal Essence has not raced since finishing sixth behind Benesari Lane in the WA Oaks on April 9. She showed promise at her three previous starts which produced a second and a third behind Newsy and a half-length second to Unconditional.
Royal Essence will have to be at her top to beat Black Jack Baby, who will start from the outside barrier in the field of eight. Black Jack Baby was not extended in winning by three lengths from Our Star Billing over 2130m last Friday week when she began speedily from the outside barrier (No. 6), burst to the front after 80m and, after a leisurely time over the first 1200m, sprinted home with quarters of 27.9sec. and 27.5sec.
Star reinsman Chris Voak has a high opinion of Black Jack Baby, but he admitted that the sprint trip could make life somewhat difficult for her. “It looks a tough draw for her over the 1730m, but she is a class filly, and I might fire her out and try to get a forward spot,” he said. “She’s got a really good chance.”
With Royal Essence and Lamour Dottie (barrier five) fast beginners, Voak will have the option of restraining Black Jack Baby at the start and relying on her devastating finishing sprint.
Lamour Dottie, trained in Boyanup by Dennis Roche, is in splendid form with her past five starts on South-West tracks producing three wins and two placings. She started from barrier four when Voak drove her to an all-the-wain victory over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. Emily Suvaljko drove her when she finished fast to win over 2185m at Pinjarra five days earlier.
Roche has engaged in-form driver Deni Roberts to handle Lamour Dottie on Friday night.
Turvey’s No. 2 runner, Captains Beachbabe, a winner at four of her 16 starts, will start out wide at barrier seven with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Captains Beachbabe has worked hard in the breeze at her past two outings for a half-head victory over Rumour Has It at Pinjarra and a well-beaten third behind Black Jack Baby and Our Star Billing at Gloucester Park.
Byford trainer-reinsman Donald Harper will be looking for strong efforts from his stable runners Our Star Billing and Star For Me. He will handle Our Star Billing, a winner of three races, from barrier six, and his brother Kyle will handle Star For Me from the No. 4 barrier.