Serpentine trainer Matt Scott holds a strong hand in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Thursday with four runners in the field of 12.
Remarkably, Scott’s four runners, eight-year-olds Brookies Jet and Charlie El, nine-year-old Qtown Rip Roaring and six-year-old Neighlor, have had a combined total of 588 starts, and, between them, the 12 runners have contested 1648 races which means that they have covered approximately 3705 kilometres which is more than a trip by plane between Perth and Sydney.
Brookies Jet (barrier No 2) and Qtown Rip Roaring (barrier No 3) are likely to dominate betting on the race after last-start second placings and their favourable draws.
Shannon Suvaljko had the choice of drives between Brookies Jet, Qtown Rip Roaring and Neighlor. And, somewhat surprisingly, he opted to handle Qtown Rip Roaring, whose most recent win in a 129-start career was 15 months ago.
Suvaljko obviously was impressed by Qtown Rip Roaring’s effort in a 2130m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when the gelding sat behind the pacemaker Quick Stride before finishing with a powerful burst out six wide to be second, a half-head behind Machlani.
Suvaljko also must have been pleased with Brookies Jet’s fighting effort in finishing a half-head second to the fast-finishing Crocodile Kid over 2130m last Friday night when the oldtimer started from the outside of the back line and worked hard in the breeze for much of the way before clawing his way to the front 10 metres from the finishing post.
Brookies Jet, who finished strongly when second to My Carbon Copy a week earlier, will be driven this week by the in-form Mitch Miller and looks set to fight out the finish.
Charlie El will start from barrier six with Kyle Harper in the sulky. He has been unplaced at his past 20 starts and will be at long odds.
Neighlor, who has a winning percentage of 22 (the best of the 12 runners), will start from the outside of the back line at his first appearance for six and a half months.
Suvaljkjo has turned his back on him after having driven him at each of his past 16 starts and at 51 of his 62 WA starts for 14 wins and nine placings. Replacing Suvaljko in the sulky will be his daughter Emily.
Punters, looking for value, should lean towards Neighlor, who certainly has an edge in class on his 11 rivals.
Michael Grantham has given punters a good lead by deciding to drive Valbonne in preference to stablemate Countess Grace and Machlani in the opening event, the 2536m TABtouch Pace.
Valbonne, trained by Mike Reed and a winner at nine of his 41 starts, is favourably drawn at barrier No. 3 and should prove hard to beat after his sound third behind My Carbon Copy in the $30,000 final of the Clarke Pace last Friday week.
Countess Grace will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green and has each-way prospects from the No. 2 barrier on the back line. The Michael Brennan-trained Machlani, a narrow winner over Qtown Rip Roaring at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week, will be handled by Aiden de Campo from barrier four on the front line.
The most competitive event on the program promises to be race five, the Retravision Pace for fillies and mares over 2130m, in which star three-year-olds of last season in Balcatherine and Typhoon Tiff will resume after lengthy spells.
They will clash with several talented and in-form mares, including Gotta Go Gabbana, Dracarys, Pick My Pocket, Millwood Molly and Parisian Partygirl.
The outside barrier in the field of seven will test star performer Shockwave when he meets in-form pacers Galactic Star, Ocean Ridge, Im Soxy, Im Full of Excuses and Our Jimmy Johnstone, as well as speedy frontrunner Golden State, who has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier in the 1730m Simmonds Steel Free-For-All.
Story courtesy Ken Casellas – Harness Racing Australia
Gloucester Park tips courtesy Racing And Sport
3 Valbonne, 12 Soho Thunderstruck, 7 Dominate The Dojo, 11 Countess Grace
5 Naval Aviator, 9 Marquisard, 1 Good Times Ahead, 10 Soho Worker
5 Bettor Be Oscar, 6 Back In Twenty, 4 Babyface Adda, 7 Miracle Moose
4 Mighty Santana, 8 Crocodile Kid, 3 Dennis, 5 Mcardles Gem
8 Dracarys, 4 Typhoon, 3 Delightful Reaction, 1 Balcatherine
1 The Bird Dance, 8 Iceenothink, 10 Braeview Bondi. 5 Four Starzzz Forsa
9 Taroona Bromac, 13 Always An Honour, 1 Where Ya Bin, 14 Happy As Larry
2 Ocean Ridge, 7 Shockwave, 1 Golden State, 3 Galactic Star
4 Suing You, 5 Weewah, 6 Sweet Maddison, 2 Star From The Palace
1 Machnificent, 3 Lavra Joe, 2 Star Of Willoughby, 5 Robbie Rocket
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