REAL LIFE POISED TO MAKE HISTORY IN THE NAVY CUP
Rejuvenated eight-year-old Real Life is in the best form of his career and is poised to create history at Gloucester Park on Friday night by becoming the first horse to win the time-honoured Navy Cup for the second time.
The group 2 Channel Seven Navy Cup will be decided over 2503m and Real Life, the sole backmarker off 40m, is an outstanding performer in stands, having had 24 starts in non-mobile events for eight wins, eight seconds and four thirds. Six of those wins were over 2503m, once from 60m and four times from 20m.
The Life Sign gelding was trained by Gary Hall sen. when he started from 10m and Shayne Cramp drove him to an all-the-way victory over Has The Answers and Lucky Punch in the 2009 Navy Cup.
Has The Answers, who galloped and lost 60m before charging home for Morgan Woodley from last to finish 2.5m behind Real Life, was then prepared by his current trainer, astute Byford horseman Tony Svilicich.
Svilicich now prepares Real Life and Woodley gave punters a strong lead when he chose to drive Real Life, an M10-class pacer, in preference to M1 frontmarker Move Over, a model of consistency who will be driven by Gary Hall jun.
Real Life is sure to appreciate a drop in class after impressing with his powerful finishing burst to be fifth behind superstar Im Themightyquinn in the 1700m Mount Eden Sprint last Friday night. Of his six previous starts, five were in stands for three wins and two second placings.
Svilicich has already tasted success in the Navy Cup, winning with Digger of Fortune in 2003 when the veteran pacer started off 20m and was driven by Lindsay Harper for a strong victory over Ramses and Cloudy Lights.
Hall jun. has yet to win a Navy Cup. The closest he got was in 2007 when he drove the polemarker and 2/1 favourite Fac Et Spiro, who trailed the pacemaker Class Mate and was shuffled back in the final circuit before finishing powerfully, out six wide, to be a head second to Global Force.
Gary Hall sen. trained Fac Et Spiro and he has two sound prospects in this year’s event in Davy Maguire (20m) and Albert Jaccka (30m). Hall sen. trained and drove Abit Rich when he was successful in the 1997 Navy Cup.
Kyle Harper, who is driving in superb form, will handle Davy Maguire and Chris Butt has been engaged for Albert Jaccka.
Davy Maguire makes strong appeal after splendid efforts to finish second behind Artorius last Friday night and second to Tartary Gladiator the previous week. Davy Maguire, an M5-class pacer, is well handicapped off 20m.
The consistent Fast Play also will have many admirers. The M6-class six-year-old looks ideally suited off 20m under the discretionary handicapping. Fast Play followed his fast-finishing third to Alzona in the Stratton Cup with his strong-finishing second to Im Themightyquinn over 2100m and a splendid fourth to Im Themightyquinn in the Mount Eden Sprint.
Fast Play, trained by Ross Olivieri, will be handled by Chris Lewis, who combined with Olivieri to win Navy Cups with Mark Craig (1995) and Super Strike (1996). Lewis also drove Navy Cup winners Skiptar (1980) and Western Gentleman (1994). Olivieri will also be represented this year by veteran Mister Gallenti, an experienced standing-start performer.
Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have two wonderful prospects in the Cup with brilliant last-start winners Russley Rascal and Artorius. Both pacers will start from 20m, with Colin Brown in the sulky behind the highly-promising Russley Rascal and Michael George as the postilion of Artorius, who captures the imagination with his supercharged finishing bursts.
Boyanup horseman Kim Prentice (Mach Dynasty) and his son Justin (Glacier Star) cannot be underestimated. Mach Dynasty has won stylishly at four of his first six starts this season (three in stands) and Glacier Star is an excellent stand horse who finished fast to snatch victory from the pacemaker Move Over in the 3309m Marathon Handicap three months ago.
Eleven-year-old Tartary Gladiator has gained a new lease on life for Herne Hill trainer Kevin Keys and warrants plenty of respect after his past five starts, all in stands, have produced two wins, two seconds and a third.
STEWARDS SUSPEND CHRIS LEWIS FOR 22 DAYS
Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has been suspended for 22 days for causing interference in a minor event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon.
The stewards found that Lewis, driving ten-year-old Hillview Storm, a 31/1 tote outsider, had caused interference to Celtic Crusader (Kyle Harper) approaching the front straight in the first lap of the 2100m Channel 7 Pace.
The stewards reported that Lewis had shifted in towards the marker posts as he endeavoured to take up the position behind the early pacemaker Ultima Chance where there was insufficient room. Hillview Storm then had contacted Celtic Crusader, causing that gelding to break gait.
At the end of the eight-event meeting Lewis had not informed the stewards whether he wished to seek a stay of proceedings to allow him to drive at the ten-event meeting at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The sparks are sure to fly and the stage is set for an action-packed contest when the State’s three biggest pacing stables unleash their star four-year-olds in the $20,500 X-Factor Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Prelude over 2100m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Gary Hall sen., Ross Olivieri and Greg and Skye Bond are looking forward keenly to locking horns when their New Zealand-bred stars clash in an event in which the winner will be an automatic runner in the $175,000 Golden Nugget Championship to be run over 2536m on November 25.
The Bonds have a high opinion of Nimrod, who is in line to bring up four wins in succession, while Hall and Olivieri are talking up the prospects of their runners.
Hall will be represented by rising star Smart VC and Black And Bettor and Olivieri expects that his runners Lovers Delight and Dearborn will prove very hard to beat.
“Both my runners are good chances in the Nugget,” Hall declared. “Smart VC has got the horror draw (barrier seven on the front line), but he should still fight out the finish. Black And Bettor is resuming after a spell, but is a real blow-out chance from his good draw on the inside of the back line.”
Gary Hall jun. will drive Smart VC, who has created a tremendous impression, winning at each of his past five starts after finishing an unlucky second at his debut. Kim Prentice will handle Black And Bettor, who has revealed exciting potential in winning five races and being placed six times from 16 starts.
The Olivieri runners have fared well in the random barrier draw, with Lovers Delight drawing the prized No. 1 barrier on the front line and Dearborn drawing No. 3.
Both pacers completed their warm-up for the series of rich four-year-old feature events with impressive victories over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night.
Dearborn, driven by Morgan Woodley, was not extended when he set the pace and sprinted the final 400m in 27.9sec. in beating Jasper Whitby by just under two lengths, rating 2.2.8. He covered the final 800m in 57.6sec. when he raced without cover before beating Soho Daytona at Gloucester Park at his previous outing.
Lovers Delight raced wide early and then in the breeze before taking the lead on the home turn and winning from the pacemaker Go West U Terror at Bunbury on Saturday night. He rated a slick 1.58.2.
Lovers Delight, a winner of six races from 16 starts, is more experienced than Dearborn and Olivieri has a slight leaning towards him on Friday night.
“I’d say that Lovers Delight is the better horse, but I don’t think there’s as much between them as what people might think,” Olivieri said. “Dearborn has had only five starts and has won three of them and he could have gone much faster at Bunbury.
“I’m not taking the opposition lightly and I do rate many of his rivals on Friday night. The Hall horses are classy and you’ve got to be concerned about them.”
Adding spice to Friday night’s race will be the appearance of highly-promising fillies If I Have A Dream and Time To Smile.
If I Have A Dream, who will start from No. 2 on the front line, is in sparkling form and has won six times from her past eight starts, while Time To Smile caught the eye when she set the pace and sprinted the final 800m in 56.7sec. when she won by three lengths from Lisharry at Bunbury on Saturday night.
CAN RETURN FIRE POSES A THREAT TO HAS THE ANSWERS
Chinks have been found in the armour of veteran pacer Has The Answers when he has wilted and been unplaced at his past two starts.
However, the Tony Svilicich-trained nine-year-old looks certain to be a hot favourite when he starts from the outside of the front line in the $20,500 Seven News Pace over 2100m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
But his recent efforts have shown that he is vulnerable to pressure Can Return Fire looks to have sound prospects of toppling the equine millionaire and winner of 67 races.
Can Return Fire was a 67/1 outsider last Friday night when he raced wide early and then enjoyed a perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly to be an 8m second to champion Im Themightyquinn in the 1700m Mount Eden Sprint.
Has The Answers set the pace, was put under pressure early and then led by two lengths 700m from home before fading top finish sixth.
Can Return Fire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start from the No. 5 barrier is quite likely to use the gelding’s speed to get to an early lead and then take a sit behind Has The Answers before asking the gelding for a strong finishing effort.
A victory by Can Return Fire would make amends for his narrow defeat in last season’s Seven News Pace when the New Zealand-bred gelding ran home fast from ninth at the bell to finish second, a head behind Aussie Reactor.
A win by Can Return Fire would continue a great run of successes by the Bonds, who trained five of the ten winners at Gloucester Park last Friday night and continued in good form with a double with Johnny be and Dundee Three at Pinjarra on Monday and the win of Gate Bender at Gloucester Park on Tuesday.
The Bonds have 13 runners at Friday night’s meeting, with all having each-way prospects. Crack four-year-olds Ohokas Bondy and Seel N Print look outstanding and Borat, Nimrod, Russley Rascal and Artorius all have excellent winning prospects.
NEWCOMER THUMPEN REVEALS GREAT NUGGET POTENTIAL
An exciting new challenger for the $175,000 Golden Nugget Championship on November 25 emerged at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night when New Zealand-bred stallion Thumpem produced a dazzling performance to win the 1700m Schweppes Pace at a 1.55.3 rate.
Trained at West Swan by Sonia Zucchiatti and driven by Kim Prentice, Thumpem was favourite at 5/4 on at his WA debut.
After starting from the outside of the back line, Thumpem settled down in eighth position and moved into fourth place at the bell when Blissful Boy was flying in front.
Blissful Boy sprinted the third 400m section of the final mile in 27.9sec. and led by five lengths with 450m to travel. Thumper then unwound a powerful burst to charge to the front in the final 50m before winning by just over two lengths from Blissful Boy.
This was Thumpem’s first appearance since he made his Australian debut at Penrith on August 18 when Greg Bennett drove him to a very easy victory over 2125m at his first start since late last December.
Thumpen started in the C0-class event on Tuesday night with earnings of $258,586 from four wins and four placings from 19 starts. He shone as a two-year-old in New Zealand when his major victory was in a $292,500 listed classic at Addington.
BALTIC WARRIOR SHOWS A TOUCH OF CLASS
Memories of former champion Baltic Eagle were revived at Gloucester Park on Tuesday afternoon when Shannon Suvaljko drove his eight-year-old half-brother Baltic Warrior to a runaway victory at odds of 38/1 in the 2100m Tabform Pace.
The gelding, trained at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, began speedily, charged to the front after 350m and set a blistering pace before scoring by 22m from 120/1 outsider Gus Witherspoon at a sizzling 1.56.4 rate in the C4-class event.
Baltic Warrior, a failure at his only previous WA start when a 41m tenth behind Jambo Emali at Pinjarra, won twice from 45 New Zealand starts before having 24 starts in New South Wales for four wins and five placings.
Baltic Eagle had 40 starts for 21 wins, seven placings and stakes of $746,980. He won two heats and the final of the 2003 interdominion championship at Addington after winning the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in January of that year.
by Ken Casellas