Gloucester Park Review Friday 10 March 2023

13 March 2023 | Ken Casellas

Big plans for Waverider

Brilliant colt Waverider is being set for a hat-trick of major feature events after he smashed the race record in scoring a runaway victory in the $100,000 APG Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“He will be aimed at all the main two-year-old races, so we won’t be seeing him again until the heats of the Pearl,” said trainer Ryan Bell after Kyle Symington had driven Waverider to a devastating all-the-way success, beating Blaze Away by just over eight lengths, with his 1.55.4 rate lowering the race record rate of 1.56.2 set by Talks Up A Storm in 2020.

The $100,000 Pearl final will be run on August 25, and this will be followed by the $225,000 Westbred Classic on September 15 and the $150,000 Golden Slipper a fortnight later.

Waverider, the $2.40 favourite, was smartest to begin from barrier three, and he easily held out an early challenge from Off The Charts, and he coasted through the opening quarters in 29.1sewc. and 30.5sec. before sprinting over the final 400m sections in 28.3sec. and 28.4sec.

Blaze Away, the $4.20 third fancy, enjoyed an ideal passage in the one-out, two back position before finishing strongly from sixth at the 400m to be second, 25 metres behind the winner. Grevis ($1) trailed the pacemaker and finished two lengths farther back in third place.

The victory revived happy memories for the 36-year-old Bell, who drove Shinzig Buller to victory in the 2007 Sales Classic for two-year-olds. “He rated 2.2.8, and the 1.55.4 rated by Waverider tonight indicates the progress made by our local-bred youngsters,” said Bell.

The 21-year-old Symington said that he had had a worrying time over the previous seven days --- since the Sales Classic was called off after Greatgreat Boulder had choked down and crashed to the track the previous Friday night when Symington has Waverider pacing strongly in the lead.

“Everything was spot on last Friday, and it has been a bit of a stressful week, though nothing went wrong,” he said.

Bell said that he would have been quite happy if the race had been re-run the previous week, but was quite happy that the colt was not affected in any way by the race being rescheduled.

“He handled everything like a professional,” he said. “He hasn’t even turned a hair tonight; he’s such a cool dude. His forte is his high cruising speed. You’ve just got to look at the stride on him.

“Kyle said that he got a bit keen behind the gate tonight and he nudged it a bit and went off balance before composing himself and getting on with the job. From day one he has been the ultimate professional.

“He is the most beautiful soul of an animal we have ever come across. He is not impeccably bred, but you would want to buy him on looks.”

Waverider is a stablemate of star performers Shockwave (47 starts for 19 wins, 17 placings and $514,802) and Swingband (21 starts for 11 wins, four placings and $193,840), and Bell has no hesitation is declaring: “Waverider is definitely faster than both of them. His point-to-point speed is ridiculous.”

Waverider is by American stallion Downbytheseaside and is the fourth foal out of the Major In Art mare Premium Copper, who managed one third placing (at Bunbury as a two-year-old) from five starts before being retired.

Waverider was bred by Mike and Sharon Howie, and he was purchased by Kevin Jeavons for $60,000 at the APG 2022 Perth yearling sale. Jeavons now races the colt in partnership with his son Kyle, Gino Monaco and J. Dyer. He has raced twice for two wins and earnings of $66,204. He is related to Willowleaf Boy, winner of the Pearl Classic in June 2003.

Minstrel ends 13-month drought

Brilliant New Zealand-bred six-year-old Minstrel ended a losing sequence of 12 and broke a 13-month drought  when he scored a decisive victory in the 1730m $30,000 Caduceus Club Come Up And Join Us Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

He showed no signs of fatigue after a gruelling run when fifth behind Diego in the 2692m Pinjarra Cup four days earlier.

Minstrel, the $2.60 second fancy, gave a sample of his class when he raced in the breeze for much of the way before finishing strongly to beat the fast-finishing Hampton Banner ($14) and  pacemaker and $1.90 favourite The Mustang, 1.54, with final quarters of 27.5sec. and 27.8sec.

The victory gave Deni Roberts the final leg of a driving treble, following earlier wins with Roll Up and Jett Star, and this was the third of four winners on the night for leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who were also successful with Roll Up, Jett Star and Aussie Scooter.

If Minstrel takes no harm from his win there is a good chance he will contest the $50,000 Governor’s Cup next Friday night. A winner of four races in New Zealand, Minstrel has excelled in Western Australia, with his 33 starts in the State producing 13 wins and nine placings.

“I think that the back-up (after the Pinjarra Cup) suited him,” said Roberts. “Tonight, he felt really good when I got out on to the track. He felt sharp and above himself. I don’t think that he has ever backed up that close between runs. Sometimes, it can work; and sometimes the horse can be a bit flat.”

Ambitious program for The Amber Hare

Talented New South Wales-bred mare The Amber Hare will be set for the $30,000 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra on Monday of next week and the $75,000 Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park on March 31.

Gifted trainer-driver Jocelyn Young announced these plans after The Amber Hare ended a losing run of seven and bounced back to her best form when she started favourite at $2.60 and set the pace on her way to defeating Misstiano ($21) and Nevermindthechaos ($2.70) in the 2536m group 3 Lombardo Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night..

The Amber Hare started from the No. 3 barrier and she dashed to the front after 60m, with Three Rumours ($26) in the breeze, Misstiano trailing the pacemaker and Newvermindthechaos racing in sixth position, one-out and two-back.

“She started to hit the wheels and got a bit keen coming in for the bell, and that wasn’t ideal in that company,” said Young. “But she was good enough to keep going.”

After a third quarter of the final mile in a brisk 27.67sec. The Amber Hare fought on doggedly over the final 400m in 29.1sec. to keep her rivals at bay.

Nevermidthechasos maintained her splendid form in finishing strongly, out wide, to snatch third place by a head from $61 outsider Simply Shaz, who ran home strongly along the inside and was badly hampered for room in the closing stages.

The Amber Hare, a winner at one of her five starts in New South Wales, has had 22 starts for Young in WA for ten wins and six placings.

Jett Star does it the hard way

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Jett Star, winner of the group 1 Pearl Classic in June 2020 (when he beat Lavra Joe), notched his eighth win at Gloucester Park when he worked hard in the breeze before scoring an easy victory in the 1730m Caduceus Club Members Pace on Friday night.

Jett Star, the $1.60 favourite from barrier three, raced three wide early and then on the outside of the pacemaker Make It Happen ($11), who got to the front after 500m following a keen early struggle for ascendancy with Stormyskyes.

“The plan was to come out as hard as we could, and I held out everything outside of me,” said star driver Deni Roberts. “Stormyskyes and Make It Happen had a bit of sorting out to do, and as long as I held out everything else I was happy. When Jett Star is right, he’s got a lot of ability.”

Jett Star burst to the front 120m from home and won by almost two lengths from his fast-finishing stablemate and $4.20 second fancy Vulcan Star.

Jett Star, raced by Team Bond and trained by Greg and Skye Bond, was making his third appearance after a spell and he looks set for a fruitful campaign. A son of Bettors delight, he has already earned $151,115 from 14 wins and six placings from 27 starts.

Roll Up is fast and tough

Outstanding young driver Deni Roberts took full advantage of Roll Up’s strength and staying qualities when she vacated the favourable one-out, one-back position and was more than happy to rate the five-year-old in the breeze outside the pacemaker and $2 favourite Eton Rock in the 2130m Caduceus Club Positive For Pacing Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Her plan worked to perfection, with Roll Up, great value at $9.80 at his third start after a spell, finishing strongly to win at a 1.57.9 rate.

Roll Up settled in the one-out, one-back position before Roberts decided to vacate the prized position after about 500m and move to the breeze. Eton Rock cored the third quarter of the final mile in 28.4sec. before the pace increased further over the final 400m which whizzed by in 27.7sec.  

Roll Up finished strongly and got to the front in the final 15m to win by a neck from $51 chance Alcopony, with Eton Rock a head away in third place.

“I could’ve had a good sit one out and one back, but I decided against it,” said Roberts. “Eton Rock had done quite a bit off the arm, so I knew I’d get a cheap breeze. I didn’t want to becoming three or four wide in the last half.

“Roll Up can do it (in the breeze) in the right circumstances. So, I elected to pull him out early and then drove him sit-kick from the breeze. He’s accustomed to racing in the breeze, and he’s tough but is fast as well.”

Roll Up, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was having his third start after a spell, and the half-brother to Risk has raced exclusively in WA, with his 29 starts resulting in 11 wins, ten placings and $74,115 in prizemoney.  for   

He enjoys racing at Gloucester Park where his nine starts have produced five wins and two placings.

Whatabro’s flying start

Whatabro, an easy winner a week earlier, was disregarded by punters at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he started from out wide at barrier eight in the 2130m George Franklin Pace.

He was a $41 outsider on the fixed market and was a $30.40 chance on the tote.

However, reinsman Chris Voak, noted for his aggression, refused to concede defeat and he set Whatabro alight, and the experienced six-year-old burst straight to the front despite Aiden de Campo getting $91 outsider Pradason away brilliantly from the outside barrier in the field of nine.

Whatabro settled quickly and he covered the opening quarter of the final mile in 30.7sec. before he responded to Voak’s urgings and sprinted over the next two 400m sections in 28sec. and 27.7sec. and then covering the final quarter in 29.2sec. to win easily at a 1.55.1 rate, beating the $1.50 favourite Don’t Bother Me None by 2m.

“I didn’t think it was the fastest front line, and Whatabro has good gate speed,” explained Voak. “I couldn’t have timed it any better and we got an absolute flyer. I thought that Whatabro would be capable of running 1.56, but I didn’t expect him to go 1.55.1. When these older horses get to the front, they like it. Running those sectionals rated the others out of it.”

Whatabro, trained by Michael Brennan, has been a wonderful moneyspinner, earning $225,767 from 27 wins and 40 placings from 125 starts. Brennan is now setting the Victorian-bred Whatabro for next Friday night’s $50,000 Governor’s Cup.

A winning combination

“He is improving with age,” declared Jocelyn Young after driving hardy seven-year-old Pierre Whitby to victory in the 2536m Past President Joe Iemma Memorial Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Young has enjoyed a marvellous association with Pierre Whitby, and the WA-bred gelding’s win gave Young her 17TH success in the sulky with the pacer who is trained at Hopeland by Debra Lewis.

Pierre Whitby, who is by Mach Three and is out of former top-flight mare Party Date, has earned $203,087 from 19 wins and 38 placings from 145 starts.

On Friday night he drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Young was happy to take the sit behind the pacemaking Bettorstartdreaming, with the hard-pulling $3.90 chance Baltic Ace in the breeze.

Young got Pierre Whitby off the pegs 420m from home and the gelding hit the front with 250m to travel and went on to beat the $6 chance Manning, who was tenth early and seventh at the bell before finishing solidly, out five wide.

Four winners to the Bond camp

Champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond brought up their fourth winner on the program at Gloucester Park on Friday night when the consistent Aussie Scooter relished a tough run in the breeze before winning the 2503m standing-start Caduceus Club President Trevor Lusty Handicap.

Aussie Scooter, a $5.60 chance, was handled confidently by Kyle Symington, who was having his second drive for the Bond camp. The five-year-old started from the inside of the 10m line and settled down in seventh position.

Symington wasn’t happy to be so far back, with the $4.60 second fancy Arden Velocity setting a moderate early pace, and he seized the initiative by vacating the one-wide position and sending Aussie Scooter forward, three wide, after 650m and moving to the breeze.

The third quarter of the final mile was run in a brisk 27.7sec. and Symington dashed Aussie Scooter to the front with 450m to travel. The final 400m was run in 28.7sec. and Aussie Scooter won by just under a length from Arden Velocity.

Ima Fivestar General was the $2.60 favourite, who ruined his chances by galloping badly at the start and losing almost 20 lengths. With the slow early pace Ima Fivestar General was able to make up most of his lost ground and he moved into third place at the bell, but trapped three wide. He faded in the final stages to finish last.

“I was pretty lucky that there was a false start when it looked like I was going to be trapped on the fence,” said Symington. “I was able to get into the one-wide line after the second start, and I decided to go forward. They weren’t running any quick pace, so I went forward and gave the horse his opportunity.”

Aussie Scooter has been an excellent standing-start performer who now has earned $147,970 from 14 wins and 14 placings from 50 starts.

Reed’s successful return

Trainer Stephen Reed celebrated his first runner for 2023 when Dardy Boy, resuming after an eight-month absence, led all the way and held on to win the 2130m Caduceus Club Committee Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Dardy Boy was a well-supported $2.10 favourite who was driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who took the four-year-old to the front after 150m before slow opening quarters of 31.1sec. and 31.6sec., followed by final quarters of 29.2sec. and 28.5sec.

Illawong Mustang, a $4.80 chance at his first appearance for five months, trailed Dardy Boy before finishing with a spirited burst to get within a half-neck of the favourite on the line. The win gave the 39-year-old Reed his first success since Pocket the Cash was successful at Gloucester Park on July 29 last year.         

Dardy Boy, a $70,000 purchase at the 2020 APG Perth yearling sale, has now raced 22 times for five wins, six placings and stakes of $34,167. He is by champion sire Bettors Delight and is the second foal out of Sabella Jane, who had ten starts for two wins, three placings and $13,109.

Isabella Jane is a half-sister to eight winners, including former star pacer David Hercules, who amassed $1,263,159 from 39 wins and 35 placings from 108 starts.

Im The Black Flash succeeds, first-up

Im The Black Flash, the least experienced runner and the only New Zealand-bred three-year-old in the field, gave champion trainer Gary Hall snr and star reinsman Gary Hall jnr yet another victory in the group 3 $50,000 Caduceus Club Classic when he snatched a dramatic last-stride victory over the pacemaker Hotly Pursued at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Both trainer and driver have won the classic a record seven times.

Im The Black Flash started out wide at barrier six in the nine-horse field, and he was a hot $1.60 favourite, with the brilliant Skylord the second fancy at $3.

Hotly Pursued, a $9.50 chance, burst straight to the front from barrier No. 3, leaving Im The Black Flash in the breeze. Skylord began from the inside of the back line and settled in last place before Jocelyn Young dashed him forward, three wide, after 600m.

Skylord quickly moved into third place but was trapped three wide for the final 1300m. Hotly Pursued led by just over a length on the home turn before Im the Black Flash fought on tenaciously to get up and beat Hotly Pursued by a head in the final stride. Skylord fought on to finish third.

Im The Black Flash was having his first start for five and a half months, and only his fifth start in a race.

“I’m really happy with his effort,” said Hall jnr. “Im The Black Flash should get a fair bit of benefit out of it. He was a bit underdone, and he did very well after being thrown in at the deep end. Skylord was massive, and Hotly Pursued also went very well.

“I was not confident turning for home that we were going to beat the leader. But Im The Black Flash dug deep. He showed good horse qualities, and on an empty tank he found enough to get his nose in front. He wanted to get there and get his head in front.”

Symington lands first treble

Rising star Kyle Symington continued in dazzling form in the sulky at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he landed his first metropolitan-class treble, scoring with Waverider, Aussie Scooter and Heez A Vibe.

The 21-year-old Symington completed his treble at 10.10pm when Heez A Vibe led all the way in the final event --- and how did he celebrate his memorable achievement? By returning to Gloucester Park at 4 o’clock on Saturday morning to drive several pacers in their trackwork.

Heez A Vibe completed a training double for Symington’s mentor Ryan Bell --- after they had combined to win the $100,000 APG Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings earlier in the night.

Heez A Vibe, the $1.60 favourite from the No. 2 barrier in the field of four, was not extended in setting the pace and coasting to a three-length victory over $8 chance Worlds Above.

Symington has now driven 31 winners this year and is in equal third place with Deni Roberts behind Gary Hall jnr (40 wins) and Shannon Suvaljko (39) on the drivers’ premiership table.

“We had a fair bit of gear on him, and in the past couple of weeks we have taken it all off, and this seems to be helping him,” said Bell. “He has put on some length in his legs in the past couple of months , and he is now ready for a spell. You won’t see him again until the heats of the Pearl.”

Heez A Vibe was bred in New South Wales. He is by former star New Zealand pacer Tintin In America and is the second foal out of the Art Major mare Lettucerocker, who failed to be placed from nine starts in NSW and Victoria before being retired to stud.

Lettucerocker is a full-sister to Lettucerockthem and a half-sister to Lettucerocku, both outstanding pacers. Lettucerockthem had 226 starts for 49 wins, 62 placings and stakes of $1,042,176, while Lettucerocku raced 320 times for 47 wins, 73 placings and $662,610.

Lettucerockthem won once in Victoria and 21 times in NSW (including four group 1 events at Menangle as a two, three and four-year-old) before going to America where he was a prolific winner. Lettucerocku won 17 times in NSW before winning another 30 races in America.




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