The two-year-old fillies take centre stage at Gloucester Park on Friday night for the running of the $100,000 Tabtouch Diamond Classic Final (2130m).
The Group 1 event has brought together a classy field of 12, but the barrier draw has been kind to Flametree, who is shooting for five wins in a row.
She will start a long odds-on favourite and members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have looked elsewhere for their best bets.
Award-winning journalist Ken Casellas believes punters can get off to a flyer by supporting Swingband in the opening event.
“Winning form is good form, and therefore I’m more than happy to make Swingband my best bet on Friday night, despite the Ryan Bell-trained three-year-old facing a stern test from the outside barrier in race one,” Casellas said. “Swingband resumed after a spell a fortnight ago in fine style with an all-the-way win over The Miki Taker, who again looks his chief adversary this week. Swingband won’t lead this week, but he has the speed and strength to overcome the disadvantage of the wide draw.”
The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft and Guild president Wayne Currall have settled on Al Guerrero as their best bet.
“Al Guerrero is a bold frontrunner and gets the draw here to find that position from which he usually takes beating,” Havercroft said. “The distance is probably the only query but Plutonium, who looks his main market danger, will have to come around Al Guerrero to beat him.”
And Currall agrees.
“Kyle Harper should be able to spear Al Guerrero straight to the top from gate two,” Currall said. “This is the horse’s sixth run back from a spell and he looks poised to record his first victory this campaign. He grows another leg in front.”
Longshot guru Pat Harding thinks Eighteen Carat will continue on her winning way.
“Should be an interesting night at GP this Friday,” Harding said. “I just have a feeling that it might be a good night for outsiders. My best bet comes up in race four with No. 6 Eighteen Carat. She certainly has lived up to her name in her last two races and I think she can make it three wins in a row.”
TABradio’s Matt Young is sticking fat with Lavra Joe, his best bet from last week.
“Lavra Joe comes down in grade and this week I think he’ll be in the breeze,” Young said. “Good luck to anyone brave enough to go toe-to-toe with Joe.”
But The West Australian and Sunday Times’ pacing expert Ernie Manning is brave enough to take on Joe.
“Trainer Gary Hall looks set to continue a run of success in free-for-alls after his New Zealand import Gambit drew gate one,” Manning said. “The gelding proved his class with a Gloucester Park winning hat-trick, when he scored by decisive margins, last February. A quality performer since winning Auckland races early in his career, he should have benefited from a first-up race, when unplaced behind stablemate Jumpingjackmac, two weeks ago.”
KEN: For value, I suggest Zephyra in the Diamond Classic. She is a splendid sit-sprinter with the class to seriously test the favourite and likely pacemaker Flametree.
RYAN: Mr Fantastic looks a lock in the last, but there is value to be had around him for the minor money. Per Ardua Ad Astra’s form is better than the two ninths at his last couple and I will suggest he can run into the placings.
WAYNE: I’m opting for an all-up win after landing my exacta last week. Jaspervellabeach, into Al Guererro, into Eighteen Carat, into Lavra Joe and finishing off with Mr Fantastic. Will be a fantastic night if they all salute.
PAT: My double comes up in race six with No. 7 Lavra Joe. He was a bit unlucky running second last week but can make up for it with a good win in this small field.
MATT: Rebel With A Grin is going well, better draw and should be closer. Looks a great each-way chance.
ERNIE: American Bullitt has been unplaced in his past eight races, but there were excuses when he had difficulty getting clear at his last two appearances. Despite having recorded only one win from 39 Gloucester Park starts, he should not be overlooked.
Click here to view all of the Media Guild tips for this week.